A 19 year old Mandurah resident is now $10,000 out of pocket after handing money to a scammer pretending to be from the Australian Tax Office.
The scammers phoned him claiming his tax file number had been fraudulently used 26 times and there would be a warrant out for his arrest if he didn't deposit the money.
"He was told there was a warrant out for his arrest and he was told not to talk to anyone until the matter had been resolved," his close friend Gary Collins said.
"He then thought he was speaking to the federal police and Mandurah police as they gave him false ID and case file numbers.
"If he didn't follow instructions he was told he would be arrested - they asked him to deposit money to clear his debt then paper work would get sorted, his name cleared and his money would be returned."
But that money was never returned leaving the young man with an empty savings account.
His story is just one of many in Australia, with Scamwatch receiving more than 18,000 reports of scams, an increase of 40 per cent compared to all of 2019.
Scammers have intimidated people into handing over nearly $9 million this year, with people 24 and under losing more than $4.1 million of this to threat-based scams.
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission deputy chair Delia Rickard said the scams often relied on fear, intimidation and people's instinct to comply with authority.
"It is extremely concerning that young people are being so severely emotionally and financially impacted by threat-based scams," she said.
Since finding out how many other people have been called by scammers, Mr Collins is urging others to be vigilant.
"He just got caught up in it all and I think panicked," Mr Collins said.
"We just don't want this to happen to anyone else so if this could stop one other person from being scammed then something good would of come out of a bad decision.
"We have felt sick to death about this situation and for a 19 year old to lose $10,000 is heart breaking."
For further information on government department scams visit the WA ScamNet website.