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Apps Helping To Thwart Illegal, Annoying Robocalls

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The government is looking at ways to stop robocalls but there are apps you can use to help cut out and disconnect the annoying calls.

Credit: (CBS3)

Friends Lori Meisenheimer and Dana Cipolla have both received threatening calls from scam artists posing as the IRS.

Kristie Campochiaro and her kids get robocalls daily.

"Sometimes I say, 'Gotta Go,' and I hang up," Kristie said.

Analysis: Robocalls Reach Record Level, Up By 76 Percent

Kristie often receives calls with her 818 Los Angeles area code, even though the caller is from out of state or overseas.

It's known as neighbor spoofing, computer software mimics the first six digits of your phone number.

Authorities say this man, Adrian Abramovich, is a robocall kingpin behind millions of spoofed calls that pitched timeshares.

"I'm not the robocall kingpin that's alleged," said Abramovich.

He's facing a $120 million fine from the FCC.

FCC: Americans Get 2.5 Billion Robocalls A Month

On Wednesday, Abramovich testified before a senate committee under subpoena.

He didn't give many direct answers but did say it's simple to buy the software for a robocall operation.

"The technology is easy to obtain and can be used by anyone," Abramovich said.

Phone providers have recently taken steps to try and intercept unwanted robocalls.

There are also several smart phone apps available to block them -including truecaller, hiya and nomorobo.

Another called Youmail is a free service that tricks robocallers into thinking you don't exist.

"So, we play an out of service message, 'This number is out of service' to any number that we recognize is a bad number," said Youmail CEO Alex Quilici.

But it can be difficult for the apps to spot and block all the numbers because robocallers are constantly changing tactics to get you to answer.

Some apps and phone companies charge to provide robocall blocking features.

And some of the free apps require you provide some information, like your contact list. So make sure you know what you're agreeing to.

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