Google just launched a new tool to help you identify scam phone calls

Google Pixel 8 shown held in hand
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The number of calls that turn out to be some opportunistic scam artists are out of control at the moment — to the point where you just don’t want to answer the phone anymore. There are a bunch of tools to help you combat scam calls, but Google has just started rolling out what could be the best one yet.

The Google Phone app already has a directory feature, offering caller ID for numbers that you don’t already have in your contacts list. In my experience these are often tied to businesses or contractors, rather than personal numbers. So what do you do if you have a random unidentified number trying to get through to you? You use the new Lookup button.

The idea is pretty simple. A random unidentified number calls you, and you don’t pick up — since you don’t know who’s on the other end. In the past you might have Googled that number to figure out who it was, but the Lookup button takes all the hassle out of that. 

As the name suggests It’ll look up the source of that phone number without forcing you to carefully copy the number into Google Search. Not only is that easier and faster, it also means you won't accidentally call the number back in the process — meaning you won’t accidentally call a disguised premium rate number.

What you find out will all depend on just how proactive that number has been at calling people. But in the case of most scam calls you should be able to find what kind of scams they’re peddling. Not only will that make you feel better about not picking up, it means you can report the number safe in the knowledge that it’s not some innocent wrong number.

If there are no revealing results, rest assured it’s probably not that big a loss. If the call was important they’d have left a voicemail. Maybe they can just text you next time.

The Lookup button was first announced alongside the Pixel June Feature Drop, though Android Police notes that it doesn’t seem to be tied to that particular update. Which would explain why my Pixel 6 Pro, which installed the feature drop this morning, doesn’t have the Lookup button.

Thankfully it sounds like this isn’t a feature you need to activate yourself. It’s rolling out now, so odds are it’ll just appear in your phone app one day, with no fanfare or ceremony. So keep an eye on the Google Phone app, and check it out when you can.

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Tom Pritchard
UK Phones Editor

Tom is the Tom's Guide's UK Phones Editor, tackling the latest smartphone news and vocally expressing his opinions about upcoming features or changes. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining about how terrible his Smart TV is.