By CBSLA Staff

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — The Drug Enforcement Administration issued a warning Thursday of callers impersonating agents to extort money or steal personal information from people.

The DEA says its personnel and other federal law enforcement officers would never contact people or medical practitioners by phone to demand money, personal or sensitive information, and only communicates in person or by official letter.

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(credit: DEA)

The recent scams vary. In one instance, callers describe a scenario in which the target’s name was used to rent a vehicle that contained drugs and was stopped at the border, so the target must now verify the Social Security number or give personal information to reset a compromised bank account. In some cases, the caller will threaten arrest for the fictional drug seizure and demands money sent via a gift card or a wire transfer to pay a fine, or assist with the investigation.

In one recorded call released by the DEA, the scammer is indignant that the target is questioning his authority and offers to send a picture of his badge.

“I have the, I actually have the DEA here, the actual DEA on the phone so,” the targeted man says.

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“If I said, [inaudible] sent that officer a fax about this warrant, they have to arrest you. Every federal agent, they have to arrest you if I give the order to them,” the scammer says.

When a DEA agent listening on the call speaks up and asks for the scammer’s name, phone number, and location, the scammer curses at the agent and threatens him.

“Please sir, just get yourself out from this case, otherwise, I will find you any how and I will shoot you. Okay, better you just keep yourself away from this matter. Are you understanding?” the scammer says, before hanging up.

The DEA says scammers are using more sophisticated tactics like spoofing legitimate DEA phone numbers, and texting photos of what appears to be a legitimate law enforcement credential with the names of well-known DEA officials or police officers in local departments. The scammers often get aggressive, threaten arrest, prosecution, or imprisonment, according to the DEA. And in the case of medical practitioners and pharmacists, the scammers threaten revocation of their DEA registration, reference National Provider Identifier numbers and/or state license numbers, and claim that patients are making accusations against that practitioner.

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To report a scam call, go to reportfraud.ftc.gov.