Skip to main content

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 informationFTC and DEA logos above the message "Report DEA Imposters at ReportFraud.ftc.gov" 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.

18 Comments


It is your choice whether to submit a comment. If you do, you must create a user name, or we will not post your comment. The Federal Trade Commission Act authorizes this information collection for purposes of managing online comments. Comments and user names are part of the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) public records system, and user names also are part of the FTC’s computer user records system. We may routinely use these records as described in the FTC’s Privacy Act system notices. For more information on how the FTC handles information that we collect, please read our privacy policy.

The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.

  • We won’t post off-topic comments, repeated identical comments, or comments that include sales pitches or promotions.
  • We won’t post comments that include vulgar messages, personal attacks by name, or offensive terms that target specific people or groups.
  • We won’t post threats, defamatory statements, or suggestions or encouragement of illegal activity.
  • We won’t post comments that include personal information, like Social Security numbers, account numbers, home addresses, and email addresses. To file a detailed report about a scam, go to ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

We don't edit comments to remove objectionable content, so please ensure that your comment contains none of the above. The comments posted on this blog become part of the public domain. To protect your privacy and the privacy of other people, please do not include personal information. Opinions in comments that appear in this blog belong to the individuals who expressed them. They do not belong to or represent views of the Federal Trade Commission.

slhsc
March 03, 2021
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 03, 2021
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 03, 2021
I'm aware of scammers I've received plenty of phone calls when I do I hang up and block their number
address
March 03, 2021
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 03, 2021
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!
Ruby Courey
March 03, 2021
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.
Skater819
March 03, 2021
My problem is that I get so many fake calls everyday & block each one but they don't stop. Ever. How many can you report? I would need to spend each day reporting 5 or more every day. I even have scam shield app on my phone but it still allows too many to get through that I am always blocking numbers. Can't the government and phone companies stop this?
Michael
March 03, 2021
I'm glad I read this above, when I get unwanted calls on my C.P. I look to see who they are first, before. Before I answer it, if I go to answer a few of them anyway. And they are telemarker call. I just hand up, & not say a word. I know my brother when he calls me, & others calls. So I just want to let you know how I am. THANKS!
Rosie
March 03, 2021
Thank you
Harold
March 04, 2021
I'll occasionally get calls from a live person claiming to be from 'The Police Enforcement Agency" or similar peddling for money donations. Using various phone numbers he introduces himself as John Savage or Ken Allen. If you pick up the call you have confirmed there's a live person on the end for them to continue calling. Let voicemail/answerer pick up and they'll get eventually get discouraged and stop calling. My cell phone has a call-block option so if you've got it use it on those callers.
Lovey
March 04, 2021
By any means necessary they will try to destroy us and by any means necessary I will not fall to prey! Thank you FTC for being here!
Larry S.
March 04, 2021
You screen calls with an answering machine and caller ID. If you don't recognize the number or person calling let it go to voice mail. Scammers almost never leave a message.
AngCap
March 20, 2021
Mine claimed to be border control saying they seized my package with drugs at the border and I was lIke Okay if that were to really happen yall wouldn't be calling telling me to press 2. Yall be busting threw my door putting me in cuffs
Sharvandra
April 10, 2021

In reply to by AngCap

That was exactly what I was thinking too when I received a call like that, lol! I was like, yeah sure, you're going to warn me about a package of drugs being seized...don't think so! Unfortunately though there are people that get scared and fall for their scam especially our elderly. It's so sad and I hope they can eventually be stopped so this world can be a safer place for everyone!
Don't use your…
April 21, 2021

In reply to by Sharvandra

They called me twice with the same fake border seizure scam again today. From a 686 number . Hope someone stops these phone scams.
Menoll
June 16, 2021
I just got a call like this. He asked me to confirm my address and I told him he had to tell me my info and I’ll confirm. He hung up the phone. He called from a 502-690-8749 and said his name was agent Jason paul, badge number 417J2997. Lol he even had me repeat. These people are nuts.
Pillnurse
August 11, 2021
I just received a call from "Steven White from the Office of Drug Enforcement". "Mr. White" said that my social security number will be suspended because it was used in several illegal transactions. I let him know about my background working with the federal government and I started to ask him questions. He said I was asking too many questions and he hung up.