Two years ago, a debt collector with a company called Reliant Financial Associates, or RFA, left a message implying that her house was in jeopardy if she didn't pay a debt. The message stated:
"I'm calling in regards to a preliminary asset liability investigation. They are in the process of serving some court documents in regards to case 29369... They have some information now pending questions at the property,... Springdale Avenue, in Wheeling, West Virginia. It is in your best interests to contact the department. You are required to contact 866-764-9779."
The woman they called was Diana Mey, who back in 1999 won a major victory against telemarketers. Mey, who now records all her calls, wrote RFA to stop calling her:
Mey wrote RFA a cease and desist letter, telling the company not to contact her anymore, and sent it certified mail. Postal records show exactly when RFA signed for it. Precisely 23 minutes later, Mey started getting mysterious hang-up calls that showed up on her caller ID as coming from her local county government.
That led to her investigating further, and she eventually determined that the caller was "spoofing" her -- using a device that disguises the number placing the call.
After two days of hang-up calls from that sheriff's department number, Mey picked up another one with that same caller ID. The man on the line repeatedly called her a vulgar name for the female anatomy. He described violent sexual acts he would like to subject her to and asked if she liked to be "gang banged."
Mey found a lawyer willing to take the case, and when RFA defaulted, the judge awarded $10,860,000 after hearing Mey's testimony about how she felt so threatened after the malicious calls that she'd gotten her husband's gun out and kept it there for protection.
Here's the news story telling you everything you just read: