You must physically be presented with the Summons (Citation) and Complaint, either in-person, by mail. You can also be served by publication in a newspaper. If the latter method is the case, you had better get off your duff and find an attorney.
Oh, there's one other method - - it's called "Substitute Service". That means, for example, if the process server comes to your home, but you're not there, and your spouse answers the door, the process server can give your spouse the papers. You've then been served "through" your spouse.
Telling someone that they've been sued is not enough. Lawsuits are filed, and never served, all the time. It's only until you've received the papers, or notice thereof, in a legally recognized manner, then you're served.
[Edited by I AM ALWAYS LIABLE on 05-05-2001 at 04:55 PM]