Authorities warn of scammers impersonating DEA officials

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is warning people of scammers impersonating their employees in an effort to defraud and extort victims.

The DEA said the scammers call victims while spoofing DEA phone numbers so it appears the call is actually from the DEA. They then threaten to arrest, prosecute and imprison victims for alleged violations of federal drug laws or involvement in drug trafficking activities unless victims pay a fine over the phone, via wire transfer or through gift cards.

According to the DEA, callers use fake names and badge numbers or names of well-known DEA officials and may:

  • Use an urgent and aggressive tone, refusing to speak to or leave a message with anyone other than their targeted victim
  • Threaten arrest, prosecution, imprisonment, and, in the case of medical practitioners, revocation of their DEA numbers
  • Demand thousands of dollars via wire transfer or, in some instances, in the form of untraceable gift cards taken over the phone
  • Falsify the number on caller ID to appear as a legitimate DEA phone number
  • Ask for personal information, such as a social security number or date of birth
  • Reference National Provider Identifier numbers and/or state license numbers when calling a medical practitioner. They also might claim that patients are making accusations against that practitioner.

The DEA said its employees will never contact people by phone to demand money or any form of payment or sensitive or personal information. DEA officials only notify people of legitimate investigations or legal action through official letters or in-person.

Anyone who receives a call they believe is someone impersonating a DEA official is urged to report it online or by calling 877-792-2873. You can find more information here.