An 86-year-old Canadian woman named Christine McMillan recently awoke to find an unfamiliar-looking letter waiting in her mailbox. The letter was a rather direct and threatening demand from a collection company claiming she had to pay a $5,000 fee for illegally downloading a digital copy of Deep Silver’s narrative-driven survival horror game, Metro 2033.
It probably won’t surprise you to hear that Christine McMillan had never heard of Metro 2033 before receiving this letter and that she had no idea why this collection agency was accusing her of pirating a copy.
As was chronicled in a recent post on the CBS News website (via Polygon), McMillan appears to have been the victim of some internet-based misdirection in which the real culprit somehow used her unsecured internet connection (either by remotely spoofing it or hooking up a physical line without her knowledge) to download the pirated game. An action which prompted a collection firm representing Deep Silver to try and scare her into ponying up for the reported damages caused by downloading the illegal copy.
Now, it’s unclear whether Deep Silver itself told the collection agency to send the notice or if the collection agency did so of its own volition (I’m hoping it was the latter, because then there’d only be one company that needs to clean up its act rather than two). However, scaring an ordinary citizen into paying a hefty fine for a crime they likely didn’t commit is still a pretty crappy thing to try and do, especially since it’s obvious the collection agency didn’t vet the circumstances of the issue beforehand. Instead, it saw an opportunity to get a quick payout, and sent the notice.
We’ve reached out to both CBS and Deep Silver and will update this story if we hear back. In the meantime, be sure to check out some of our other recent shooter game coverage such as the upcoming Gears of War 4 legacy maps release and how Titanfall 2 isn’t getting a season pass.