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Dell Tech Swipes Nude Photos of Gullible Customer

Tara Fitzgerald
Dell is apparently eager to compete with Best Buy and Walmart for the title of most despised retailer in the country. A few months back, a tech support rep got in trouble for turning on a woman's webcam without her permission. Then, last month, the company got nabbed knowingly shipping faulty PCs. And, just this week, the Texas-based manufacturer was caught shipping motherboards infected with malware. Now, a woman from California is alleging that a support technician for Dell stole nude photos of her from her PC and posted them online, and then charged $800 worth of computer gear to her credit card for another woman in Tennessee.

This is not a cut-and-dry case of a misbehaving tech rep, though. This drama has actually been going on for almost a year, and only now is Tara Fitzgerald coming forward with her accusations. Try and follow the sequence of events, and make sense of Fitzgerald's often questionable judgment.

One fateful day, our Sacramento-based victim was unsuccessfully searching her computer for some rather private photographs she'd taken for her boyfriend. Rather than ask her beau or a trusted friend for help, Fitzgerald called Dell tech support to locate the missing explicit images (mistake number one). The tech, Riyaz Shaikh, was given remote access to the PC by Fitzgerald, who then claims she watched as Shaikh copied the images for his own use. A few days later, those images showed up online, on a site completely dedicated to showing off Tara's goodies. At this point, rather than go to the authorities or Dell (mistake number two), Fitzgerald turned back to Shaikh for help. The support agent had increasingly personal contact with Tara, and eventually convinced her to send him the Dell laptop so that he could remove the photos from the comfort of his home (mistake number three).

But, hold on. This is where things take a turn for the truly bizarre. On Valentine's Day, Shaikh told Fitzgerald that he had fallen in love with another woman, who had also called tech support. The rep allegedly shipped this new woman $800 worth of Dell gear, bought with Fitzgerald's credit card. After complaining to Dell, Fitzgerald finally came forward with her charges. But rather than go to the police, the woman turned to the media (mistake number four).

Fitzgerald is thinking about filing suit against Dell, although the company says it is working with her to resolve the matter outside of court. Shaikh is no longer working the tech support lines at Dell, but it's unclear whether or not he will face any criminal charges in India. We can't shake the feeling that there is more to the story. Fitzgerald's naivete was largely the cause of her undoing, but it sounds as if her relationship with Shaikh had to do with something more than tech support. [From: ABC, via: Consumerist]

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Tags: dell, DellTechnicalSupport, privacy, scam, TaraFitzgerald, TechSupport, top