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Web Site Offers to Ruin People's Lives for $20 a Month

A service offering a complete "revenge package" in which people can destroy the financial status and relationships of their enemies at the click of a mouse is being offered over the Internet.

For as little as $20 a month, customers of the confidentialaccess.com Web site can make the credit ratings of people they dislike plummet, and even have them suspected of fraud.

Victims' bank accounts can be shut down remotely and all their essential utilities cut off.

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Fake e-mails and text messages which purport to come from someone else, such as the victim's spouse, can be sent containing false accusations of affairs or sexual liaisons.

[Editor's note: At one point Monday morning, the front page of www.confidentialaccess.com had been replaced by a lengthy ad offering content optimization on RSS feeds.

What appeared to have been the original front page later reappeared, with "revenge" services no longer offered, but many other fraudulent documents such as fake driver's licenses and bank statements still available.]

The new "revenge" services are the latest example of the harm the Internet can cause individuals.

A British House of Lords committee report published last week described criminality on the Web as so bad that it was like "the Wild West."

The Web site, which also offers to create perfect "novelty" copies of any documentation necessary to enable the customer to gain revenge, promises its services "can create mayhem."

"CA [Confidential Access] can make it so someone couldn't even get an ice cream cone on credit again," the site promises.

One way of doing this, it explains, is to apply repeatedly for credit using the victim's name and multiple addresses, leading inevitably to a red flag from Britain's Credit Industry Fraud Avoidance System (Cifas) or similar agencies.

Credit is then stopped until an investigation by Cifas decides whether the subject has been the perpetrator or victim of fraud.

CA offers further ideas of how to use its services.

"Create some false payslips [paychecks] and send them back returned to the victim's employer and watch them lose their job," it advises.

"Destroy a person's bank account using our novelty bank statements. Bank accounts are like gold dust now; return[ing] a novelty bank statement with their details back to the bank works for killing someones [sic] credit card account.

"Watch your victim cry when all his/her accounts are closed."

The Web site states that even accounts on eBay, the auction Web site, and PayPal, the Internet payment system, can easily be sabotaged.

Many of its activities may be illegal. Senior police sources said confidentialaccess.com, which is apparently hosted on a Singapore-based Internet server but run by Britons, is under investigation by more than one force.

The operators, who claim also to have bases in Hong Kong, Dublin and Boston, offer to fabricate a large range of documents, ranging from U.K. driving licenses, car-ownership papers and Ministry of Transport certificates to tax forms, paychecks and bank statements.

Most items are priced at a few hundred dollars but basic membership, which entitles customers to many of the "revenge" options, costs $20 a month.

Payments can be made either over the Internet or directly into a British bank account in the name of A.J. Smith.

Once the money is received, items are dispatched within a week or two.

The Web site boasts of the ultra-genuine appearance of its fakes, which are also intended to be used by customers to acquire credit from banks.

The Web site operators even offer to register customers on the electoral rolls to a variety of properties with which they have no connection.

Verbal and written references for non-existent employment records are also supplied.

The Web site's forum pages are full of glowing testimonials from satisfied customers who have apparently used CA products.

The Sunday Times obtained a fake British driving license for $600 using a bogus name and the photograph of one of the FBI's most wanted terrorists — Adam Yahiye Gadahn, aka "Azzam the American," who has been accused of being an Al Qaeda operative.

His picture appears on the fake license, complete with a realistic-looking hologram and markings, next to a false name.

Confidential Access claims to be offering legal services, but the identity of its operators, who use the name the Caxess Corporation, is hidden behind untraceable phone numbers and P.O. box numbers that lead to offshore courier companies.

The Web site subscribes to the revenge ethos in other ways too.

On its forum, its site administrator displayed a letter from a fraud investigator for the Royal Bank of Scotland in which he requests that the Singapore server take down the site because it is breaching trademark law.

In response, the site's operators have posted the man's home address, together with the name of his partner, and suggested that subscribers post excrement through their letterbox.

Other CA members suggest deflating his car's tires, instigating a credit inquiry on him and even "paying him a visit."

Sources at the Royal Bank of Scotland confirmed that the man, whose identity is being protected by The Sunday Times, has received threatening phone calls.

A bank spokesman said the site had recently been reported to the police.

Richard Clayton, a Cambridge University researcher on Internet security and adviser to the House of Lords science and technology committee, said, "I have never come across a site devoted to offering revenge in this way before.

"The only similar thing is one or two of the extreme right-wing Web sites which list addresses and suggest people go and beat up political opponents."