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Friday, July 30, 2010
SACRAMENTO - A Sacramento woman's call to Dell technical support for help with a new computer set the stage for a humiliating sequence of events involving credit card fraud and the publication of some very personal photographs.

"I've been violated. My life's been violated," said Tara Fitzgerald. "I'm a woman, and no woman likes to be taken advantage of."

"Missing" nude photographs

Fitzgerald, 48, said she first called Dell's toll-free support hotline in late December 2008 after realizing she couldn't locate a number of erotic pictures of herself she thought she had saved on her desktop computer to send to her boyfriend.

The single mother of a 14-year-old daughter admittedly has very little working knowledge of computers and the Internet and was genuinely worried about where the nude pictures might appear.

"I couldn't find them on my computer and that made me nervous. I didn't know where they went," she said.

Fitzgerald said she was connected to a technical support representative in Mumbai, India, named Riyaz Shaikh. Fitzgerald explained the delicate nature of the task and authorized Shaikh to assume remote control of her computer.

"I trusted him. I trusted him because he was a Dell technician," she said.

Fitzgerald said she watched Shaikh browse the contents of her computer from Mumbai, then watched as Shaikh discovered her nude photographs attached to e-mails sent to her boyfriend.

"I watched him take the pictures out of my e-mail. I watched him," she said emphatically.

Shaikh later identified himself as an employee of Sitel India, an outsource call center service which offers technical support under contract to Dell.

Photographs appear on vulgar website

Following her initial contact with Dell's contract support provider, Fitzgerald received an e-mail from an unknown source notifying her that the racy photographs had shown up on a vulgar website established through a free hosting service.

The site, called "bitchtara," appears to have been created Jan. 7, 2009 and featured 16 nude and semi-nude photographs of Fitzgerald along with graphic descriptions of sexual activity she supposedly enjoys.

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