SACRAMENTO, CA - Dell responded Thursday to a report that one of its outsourced technicians in India downloaded nude pictures from a Sacramento woman's computer during a technical support call.
Tara Fitzgerald, 48, told News10 the incident happened in December 2008 when she authorized Dell Certified Level 2 technician Riyaz Shaikh to assume remote control of her Dell computer.
Shaikh was working for Sitel India, a company that provides outsourced technical support for Dell.
Fitzgerald couldn't find a number of erotic photographs she and her boyfriend had taken and saved to her hard drive, and she sought help from Dell support to find them before her teenaged daughter did.
Fitzgerald said she watched as Shaikh found the pictures and downloaded them to the host computer in Mumbai, India. Sixteen nude and semi-nude photographs later turned up on a vulgar website called "bitchtara," with Shaikh claiming ownership of the site.
In a written statement from Dell, spokeswoman Elizabeth Shine confirmed Fitzgerald contacted Dell about the incident last year.
"We investigated the issue, which involved a technical representative at one of Dell's vendors," Shine wrote. "We contacted the vendor about the allegation and can confirm that the representative no longer handles Dell calls. We've been in contact with Ms. Fitzgerald regarding this issue and continue to investigate her claims to best assist in a resolution."
The statement did not say whether Shaikh still works for the vendor, Sitel India.
Fitzgerald said Shaikh also used her Dell Preferred credit card to purchase an $800 Dell computer system for a woman in Tennessee he met through a technical support call.
Fitzgerald said the only response she had received from Dell prior to her contacting News10 was an affidavit offering her the opportunity to disavow the unauthorized charge on her credit card. The company had not acknowledged the improper behavior of its outsourced representative, she said.
Fitzgerald produced message logs showing that Shaikh used his official Dell messaging account last year to apologize for the unauthorized charge and to offer repayment. As recently as this week, Shaikh contacted Fitzgerald from his personal account seeking to establish an installment plan.
Fitzgerald said the unauthorized credit card charge is the least of her worries.
"He still has my pictures," she said. "And that scares me."
by George Warren, GWarren@news10.net