Collections agencies are pretty notorious for pulling out all sorts of tricks to get people to pay up, including finding out info about family members. However, apparently one collections agency went too far in two specific ways: first, by spoofing the caller-ID to pretend to be a phone call from the woman's mother in law, but perhaps more seriously is getting a photo on MySpace of the woman's daughter
and using it to suggest that something bad might happen to her:
The first bad decision was to use a caller-ID spoofer to make it look like the collection call was coming from plaintiff's mother in law. The next not-smart use of technology was to access plaintiff's MySpace page, learn that plaintiff had a daughter, and to use that fact to intimidate plaintiff. There was evidence in the record to suggest that the collection agency's "investigator" said to plaintiff, after mentioning plaintiff's "beautiful daughter," something to the effect of "wouldn't it be terrible if something happened to your kids while the sheriff's department was taking you away?"
The woman sued the collections agency and won, as the court found that the agency "engaged in conduct the natural consequence of which was to harass, oppress, or abuse in connection with the collection of the debt; used false, deceptive, or misleading representations or means in connection with the collection of the debt; and used unfair or unconscionable means to collect or attempt to collect the debt."