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Apps attempt to combat robocalls on the rise

"Our whole philosophy is that if we can waste their time, that's time that they can't reach into your pocket and steal your identity, steal your money," said Ethan Garr, a RoboKiller spokesperson.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. —

Aren't robocalls the worst? New statistics from the Better Business Bureau show robocalls are up 300 percent.

In 2018, Americans received 26.3 billion robocalls, according to the call-blocking app Hiya. That number is a 46 percent increase over their numbers from 2017. 

Robokiller is one the newer apps turning the tables on the callers themselves.

"Our whole philosophy is that if we can waste their time, that's time that they can't reach into your pocket and steal your identity, steal your money," said Ethan Garr, a RoboKiller spokesperson.

The app redirects the spam call and answers with a fake human. Your phone never even rings. 

"A few seconds later that recording's going to appear on the app," said Garr. "You can go and listen to it."

YouMail, another one of the spam call blocking services, reported a record 5.2 billion robocalls in January. In 2017, reports reveal 30 billion robocall calls cost consumers $350 million.

They're tricking you," said Johnathan Frisk, a Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Officer. "Almost daily."

Even Officer Johnathan Frisk receives robocalls.

NBC Charlotte's Xavier Walton asked him why he doesn't just pick up the phone and hang it up. 

"Now they know it's a good telephone number and they're going to keep calling you back," Frisk said. 

Moral of the story: if it's a number you don't know, police say let it ring and then go to voicemail.

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