Online CD Purchase Brought Her Harassment Also

By HIROKO SATO, Sun Staff Lowell Sun


CHELMSFORD -- She was an unhappy customer of an online auction site and wasn't afraid to write a negative review about the seller she dealt with.

Soon, her cell phone started to ring. On the other end of the line were Web surfers of another kind -- men looking for sexual pleasure.

"The phone calls kept coming, coming and coming," the woman said. "People were calling from all over the country -- all over the U.S., from Utah to Tennessee."

Police are investigating a possible identity-fraud case after they say a local woman's name ended up on a XXX-rated Web site without her knowledge. Loaded with pornographic photos, the site provides personal ad services for those looking for sexual relationships. One of the messages posted on the site carried the name and cell-phone number of the 36-year-old woman, and police believe the man who sold a music CD to her on eBay is behind it. Some of her personal identifying information also showed up on a couple of other pornographic Web sites, as well, leading to harassing phone calls, police said yesterday.

Police have yet determine the full identity of the suspect except that he is in New York. But depending on the outcome of the investigation, the suspect could face "false impersonation and identity fraud" charges under a statute designed to prevent such crime, said Chelmsford Deputy Police Chief Jim Murphy. A conviction on the misdemeanor charges could result in $5,000 in fines and 21/2 years in jail.

Murphy said this is just one example of a growing number of identity-fraud cases involving online transactions.

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Monty Solomon
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