Authorities are working to crack down on an impostor phone scam in which the caller pretends to be a DEA agent and then tries to steal the victim’s money — often by having them purchase gift cards.

Phone scams in general are on the rise, with the number of reported scams nearly doubling between 2019 and 2020, according to the latest numbers from the Federal Trade Commission. Half a million reports were filed last year alone, with losses totaling over 1 billion dollars.

ABC News has been tracking new scam alerts sent out by the FBI, IRS and DEA in cities across the country including Boston, Houston, San Francisco, and Spokane, Washington, where officials report seeing an increase in scams in which would-be thieves identify themselves as officers, claim that the target has been found to be associated with a crime, and then demand that they pay them or else face charges.

The Drug Enforcement Administration recently issued a warning about a “widespread…

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