No, someone did not rent a car under your name to smuggle drugs -- DEA issues scam warning

The Drug Enforcement Agency issued a warning about scammers posing as agents to get personal information from people.

According to the agency, scammers are calling victims and telling them stories to trick them.

In one incident, the scammer called and told the victim their name was used to rent a car that was stopped at the border for drugs. The scammer told the victim they needed to verify their Social Security number.

Other scams include telling victims that their bank account has been compromised. In some cases, the caller threatens that the victim will be arrested if they do not send money via gift cards or wire transfers. 

Listen to one of those scam calls:

"Our office receives 3-5 calls a month from people all over the country, often moments after they have gotten off the phone with these con artists," said Detroit Field Division Special Agent in Charge Keith Martin. "DEA will never request personal or sensitive information over the phone, and will only notify people of a legitimate investigation or legal action in person or by official letter. In fact, no legitimate federal law enforcement officer will demand cash or gift cards from a member of the public."

According to the DEA, some scammers have even spoofed phone numbers so it appears the call is coming from the actual agency. They have also sent photos of law enforcement credentials that are fake but appear real.

Signs of a scam call include:

  • Using fake names and badge numbers as well as names of well-known DEA officials or police officers in local departments
  • Using  an urgent and aggressive tone, refusing to speak to or leave a message with anyone other than their targeted victim
  • Threatening arrest, prosecution, imprisonment, and, in the case of medical practitioners and pharmacists, revocation of their DEA registration.
  • Demanding thousands of dollars via wire transfer or  in the form of untraceable gift card numbers the victim is told to provide over the phone.
  • Asking for personal information, such as social security number or date of birth
  • Referencing National Provider Identifier numbers and/or state license numbers when calling a medical practitioner. They also may claim that patients are making accusations against that practitioner.

If you have received a call from a person claiming to be with DEA, report it to the FBI at  
The Federal Trade Commission provides recovery steps, shares information with more than 3,000 law enforcement agencies and takes reports at If you have given personally identifiable information, such as a Social Security number, to a caller, find tips to protect against identity theft at