Tammy Morgan didn't understand what the caller wanted when he phoned last week and demanded that she repay a $300 loan at 300 percent interest. She told him she had never taken out such a payday loan and to leave her alone.
The caller demanded that the 42-year-old Moncks Corner woman fax her driver's license information to him. “I told him, ‘Of course I am not going to do that,'” she said. “He said, ‘That's OK, I already have it,' and then he read it back to me.”
So began an unrelenting wave of unnerving phone calls that has Morgan feeling like a fugitive in her own life, haunted by a mysterious voice who taunts, abuses and threatens her using her most personal information as a bludgeon.
The caller, who Morgan said appears to have an Indian accent, has called Morgan dozens of times since last Thursday, at home, at work, on her cellphone
. He knows her birth date, her Social Security number and the names of her daughter, mother and ex-husband. He even has called her daughter's phone.
He throws it in Morgan's face and laughs. And there is not a thing she has been able to do about it.
“I'm scared to death,” Morgan said. “He knows my social and has access to all my records, my family's names, everything.”
Morgan has called Goose Creek police and Berkeley County sheriff's deputies about the calls, but there is only so much they can do because the caller appears to be out of state. He claims to be from New York, and he calls from that area code, Morgan said.
The man tied up phone lines Monday at the law firm of DeLuca and Maucher, where Morgan works as a legal assistant. They called Goose Creek police. An officer spoke with the man, who identified himself as Derrick Gonzales with Legal Process in New York, according to a police report.
When the officer told Gonzales he could face criminal harassment charges if he continued to call Morgan, the caller “advised me to prove it and that I could not do (anything) to him and hung up the telephone,”
a report stated.
The following day, the man called the law firm more than 100 times, blocking all seven incoming lines while shouting obscenities at Morgan and whoever else answered the phone. He kept demanding that she wire him money for the loan she said she never sought.
Police advised Morgan how to block her phone numbers, but there wasn't much else they could do, Goose Creek Capt. John Grainger said. Grainger said he sympathizes with Morgan, but police don't have the resources to launch a complex, multi-state investigation to track down and prosecute the caller.
“It's impractical,” he said. “We wouldn't be able to afford the resources it would take.”
Morgan understands that, and she is taking steps on her own to cover her tracks.
She also is speaking out about her ordeal to warn others in the community about the menace. From what she has found in Internet searches, the same man may have plagued others across the nation with the same cruel game.
Morgan said she feels like Sandra Bullock's character from the 1995 thriller “The Net,” in which a software engineer has her entire identity stolen by unseen enemies.
“I feel like I'm in that movie,” she said. “And I'm petrified.”