Federal Trade Commission

03/03/2021 | News release | Distributed by Public on 03/03/2021 21:17

The Drug Enforcement Administration isn’t calling

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March 3, 2021
Seena Gressin
Attorney, Division of Consumer & Business Education, FTC

We're getting reports about scammers pretending to be Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents. They're trying to get your money and personal information, and using alarming phone calls to do it.

The DEA is alerting people to the scam. Their message: It's not the DEA calling.

The scammers use fake names and badge numbers. Sometimes they use the names of real DEA agents and may even text photos of what look like legitimate law enforcement credentials. They may have information about you, like part or all of your Social Security number (SSN). When they target medical practitioners, like doctors and pharmacists, they may have their National Provider Identifier number or state license number.

The scammers' stories vary, but usually go something like this: They've seized a car packed with illegal drugs. It was rented in your name. Or, they found identifying papers with your name in the car, at some drug-linked location, or on a bank account used for money laundering. You're going to be arrested for drug trafficking and money laundering.

The fake agent comes up with a reason for you to transfer money to him - maybe for safekeeping, to pay a fine, or to prove you're willing to cooperate. They'll tell you how to send the money, often by wire transfer or by buying gift cards and telling them the numbers on the back of the cards.

Here's what you need to know:

  • The DEA will never call and ask for your SSN or other personal information. It won't ask you to pay anything. And it won't call to say you're under investigation or threaten you with arrest.
  • Your caller ID might show a real DEA phone number, but that's not the real DEA calling. Computers make it easy to show any number on caller ID. Don't trust what you see there.
  • Never give your SSN to anyone who contacts you. Don't confirm the last 4 digits. And don't give a bank account or credit card number - ever - to anybody who contacts you asking for it.
  • Anyone who tells you to wire money, pay with a gift card, or send cash or cryptocurrency is a scammer. Always. No matter who they say they are.

If you get a call like this, hang up. Tell friends and family members about it. Then, tell us about it too, at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

Blog Topics:
Privacy, Identity & Online Security
Scam Tags: Scammers Impersonating the Government
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slhsc| March 3, 2021
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I received one of these calls, but the person claimed to be from the FBI not the DEA stating that if I don't comply immediately, I would be arrested. I told him that 1) The FBI does not contact any citizen in this manner; and 2) I am a law-abiding citizen and as such will report HIM to law enforcement! He never called again.

jamesmfeinstein| March 3, 2021
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The scammers are targeting seniors and immigrants, who believe that everyone in the USA is honest. My girlfriend got a fake email from the post office, regarding a package and fake emails and calls asking for her Apple iCloud password, so the scammer can access all of her telephone contacts.

Rose| March 3, 2021
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I'm aware of scammers I've received plenty of phone calls when I do I hang up and block their number

address| March 3, 2021
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At my home, I always hang up the suspicious calls however I don't give my personal information like my SSN on line. I know that there are numerous scammers across our country in online. Only I protect my personal information in my stricter security in privacy.

Pokey| March 3, 2021
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I had a guy calling here, Officer Rogers (with an Isralie accent) saying 'due to my online activity' drugs were purchased under My name, and they are coming to arrest me within 10 mins if I dont sent 1200 to him IMMEDIATELY to stop the fraudulent accusations or stop whatever he was threatening. It sure would be less of a threat if the FCC PUNISHED phone comanies who ALLOW spoofing aps. It would be solved IMMEDIATELY . They would stop, the phone companies would turn around and fine the users or cut their service. Fcc makes it VERY TIME CONSUMING to report these calls that start at 5am DAILY!

FTC Staff| March 3, 2021
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You can report problem calls to the FCC here, or to the Federal Trade Commission at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

Ruby Courey| March 3, 2021
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I received a phone call from someone telling me they were calling from Law Enforcement for the Federal Reserve Bank about a problem with my account. I could not understand this unless someone had fraudulently got my bank account number. I have to admit that I was scared. I hung up and called my bank and was told there was no problem.

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