X

Google Will Monitor Phone Calls in Real Time for Scam Alerts

Android phones could pop up a warning if a call is trying to scam you, right while the call is still happening.

Gael Cooper
CNET editor Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, a journalist and pop-culture junkie, is co-author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the '70s and '80s," as well as "The Totally Sweet '90s." She's been a journalist since 1989, working at Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, Twin Cities Sidewalk, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and NBC News Digital. She's Gen X in birthdate, word and deed. If Marathon candy bars ever come back, she'll be first in line.
Expertise Breaking news, entertainment, lifestyle, travel, food, shopping and deals, product reviews, money and finance, video games, pets, history, books, technology history, and generational studies Credentials
  • Co-author of two Gen X pop-culture encyclopedia for Penguin Books. Won "Headline Writer of the Year"​ award for 2017, 2014 and 2013 from the American Copy Editors Society. Won first place in headline writing from the 2013 Society for Features Journalism.
Gael Cooper
2 min read
Screenshot displaying the Google bank scam warning

A new Google feature could warn phone users if a certain call is trying to scam them out of money.

James Martin/CNET

Telephone scams can be devastating, but technology is evolving to warn consumers away from a fraud even while the scammer is still on the phone trying to trick you out of your money. On Tuesday, at Google I/O 2024, the company's annual developers conference, Google announced upcoming scam-detection tools coming to Android phones that will use Google's artificial intelligence tool Gemini to detect a fraud and warn you about it in real-time.

Once Google's AI detects that the conversation includes suspicious wording, an alert pops up on the phone to warn of a possible scam.

AI Atlas art badge tag

The example displayed at the event was a red pop-up window with text that read, "Likely scam: Banks will never ask you to move your money to keep it safe," and provided a button to end the call, as well as one to continue. An alert noise was also heard to tell the phone user the scam alert had popped up.

That would seem to reveal that Google's AI is listening to your phone calls, which might unnerve some people. A company representative said all details would stay private on your device. No official date was given for the new feature, which is still being tested.

Watch on TikTok: See the Scam-Call Alert Demonstration From Google I/O

Microsoft announced a similar feature in February, calling its version Azure Operator Call Protection, and making it an option for mobile carriers to offer to their subscribers.

Scam calls continue to plague everyone who uses a phone. A study from voice security platform Hiya reported that the average phone gets about 14 spam calls per month. Some calls even use AI to fake celebrity voices, such as those of singer Taylor Swift or President Joe Biden. The Federal Communications Commission ruled in February that such calls are illegal, giving states a new way to go after the scammers.

Watch this: Google Introduces New AI Tools for Music, Video and Images

Editor's note: CNET is using an AI engine to help create a handful of stories. Reviews of AI products like this, just like CNET's other hands-on reviews, are written by our human team of in-house experts. For more, see CNET's AI policy and how we test AI.