Net Detective / Harris Digital Publishing Company Profile
Original report written April 07, 2004
The above information was obtained using a WHOIS query and information on record at the BBB. Since no contact information was listed on the website (netdetective2001.com), this was the only source available.
Net Detective / Harris Digital Publishing Investigative Report
I have known about this company for a few years. It is almost hard to not know about this company if you type in "background checks" in a search engine. You might not have seen the name "NetDetective", but you most probably have seen one of their aliases:
I will admit, I have never had any deep personal dealings with Harris Digital Publishing. My only dealings was an e-mail I sent to Harris Digital Publishing a few years ago (I have yet to hear back). I inquired in to a few features about the program. I found that the features the site presented were not of any significance. Below are the features listed on the website (http://www.netdetective2001.com/):
To my knowledge, not one of these features are anything special. Almost all of this information can be obtained via the Internet for free (or a small fee).
I will explain below each one of the features with a basic description of how to obtain the information for that feature:
- Locate phone numbers and email addresses - online phone directory
- Discover how to get driving records
I am not sure of the information they use in their software (NetDetective), but to my knowledge, the only way to legally get a driving record is to request a copy from the DMV of the state of the person you are wanting a record of. Unfortunately, you can only obtain driving records for yourself (they fail to mention that on the website). Insurance companies do so because you are usually signing a release allowing them to obtain your driving record. There are some sites which you can obtain drivers license numbers, but you must agree in compliance with the DPPA (Driver's Privacy Protection Act of 1994).- Locate old CLASSMATES and long lost LOVES
- Discover how to find UNLISTED phone numbers
What they fail to mention is the definition of an "unlisted number." A unlisted number is merely a number that is not listed in a phone book. It may be listed in publicly available information such as lawsuit records, etc. There is a differance between an "unlisted" number and an "unpublished" number.
- Snoop on your BOSS, CO-WORKERS, and NEIGHBORS
I am not sure what is meant by this. This could mean anything. It could be from a tutorial on how to spy, how to find information about the mentioned persons, etc. Anyone can "snoop" on another. You don't need any software to show you how to do that.
- Stop thieves from stealing YOUR IDENTITY
The FTC has an entire website devoted to identity theft prevention. Why pay for software to teach you that?
- Check for lawsuits, court orders and ALIMONY
Check county court records. Do a search on the Internet for this or try searching your local state website.
- Does the FBI have a file on YOU? Find out.
You never know. But if you are wanting to find out, you must do the following:
Submit written request with your name, date of birth, and place of birth along with inked fingerprints to the FBI:
FBI – CJIS DIVISION
- Find UNCLAIMED MONEY for you, your relatives, & friends
>Check this at your state department of treasury. I found a link from the U.S. Department of Treasury which they recommend.
- Protect your PERSONAL CREDIT
I recommend reading the information at the Identity Theft site of the FTC.
- Verify EMPLOYMENT applications
There are companies on the net (using a search engine to find) which you can use to verify employee information. You can even verify some information such as addresses and phone numbers using reverse address and phone traces. If you are wanting to do background checks, there are companies such as knowx.com and ussearch.com. It is easier for a business to do a background check than a regular consumer. Businesses usually have the employee sign a release of information permitting them to perform a background check. Many may think that they can get NetDetective and do background checks on anyone instantly. I feel that is far from the truth.
- Check your credit report for ACCURACY
Read the ending of my article on Client Services, Inc. I explain how to obtain a copy of your credit report.
- Locate HIDDEN REAL ESTATE
Having not used the software before, I am not sure what they are speaking of. I have heard of this reference before (i.e. hidden real estate). The term I heard of was usually a result listing in the purchase of a list of government auctions for property and homes.
- Check out ROMANTIC interests
This can be interpreted in a few ways. If it means to "find" romantic interests, that's easy. Use a search engine and search for "personals." If it means to find information about your significant other (or possible significant other), then it probably lists how to find marriage records, divorce records, etc at the Department of Vital Records of your state (http://vitalrecords.accessgenealogy.com/). In addition, it may list information on how to check to see if this individual has a spotty history.
- CRIMINAL and prison records
You can find the information by state here.
As you can see, the program is not as impressive as you might have originally thought it to be. I have also noticed that the company (Harris Digital Publishing) has an unsatisfactory record with the BBB:
"Based on BBB files, this company has an unsatisfactory record with the Bureau due to a pattern of complaints. Although the company resolves the complaints, it has failed to correct the underlying reason for the complaints. Complaints are concerning the performance of the software, specifically stating the software, Net Detective, does not perform as represented. All complaints request a refund.
Based on what I have observed of the claims on the website and the BBB record, I do not have any faith in this software. I do admit that I have not purchased or used the software. However, I do not need to try something which I don't have confidence in. In my opinion, the statements on the website are of a deceptive nature.
I will be sending an e-mail to the company with some questions I have. I feel that if the company answers my questions honestly, it would save me from having to buy the software.
Net Detective / Harris Digital Publishing Investigative Report Updates
Update! April 10, 2004 @ 12:46 A.M. (CDT/-600 GMT)
I forgot to mention this in the original report. It is quite important. You may notice on many advertisements a promotion that NetDetective is endorsed by the NAIPI (National Association of Independent Private Investigators). What they don't tell you is that the NAIPI is a "group" created by the people whom made the NetDetective software. How do I know this? After tons of searching the search engines for NAIPI and the term "National Association of Independent Private Investigators", I found a link to www.jeanharris.com/naipi. Now it seems that www.jeanharris.com only forwards you to www.harrisdigitalpublishing.com.
Another fact is that I have NEVER seen the NAIPI listed on any private investigator websites. Why is this so? If you would like to search yourself, start here. This is a website of private investigator associations listed by state. Please let me know if you find any site "endorsing" NetDetective or the NAIPI.
Another statement I do not believe is that their program is "Relied upon by hundreds of LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES." Why would law enforcement officials need a program like NetDetective? Not for criminal checks. Most law enforcement officials have access to the NCIC (National Crime Information Center). This is the FBI crime database. If possible financial fraud, the government has access to financial records via the U.S. Department of Treasury (in particular, our friends, the IRS).
I will be writing Harris Digital Publishing asking them about their features as well as asking what "law enforcement" agencies use their program. My advice is to inquiry with Harris Digital Publishing about the program before you purchase it. Save the e-mail (the whole e-mail, including headers) when they reply to your questions. This way you have something to fall back on in the case you would pursue the matter for "false advertisement" and/or "deceptive trade practices". If you have bought the program and are having trouble getting a refund, I recommend filing a complaint with the BBB (Better Business Bureau, Attorney General (of your state and the state Harris Digital Publishing resides, Florida).
I have sent an e-mail to Harris Digital Publishing via their contact form. The e-mail I sent can be viewed here.
After waiting almost two months from the time I sent an e-mail to Harris Digital Publishing, Inc. via their website, on June 2, 2004, a certified letter with return receipt was sent to Cyberspace To Paradise, Inc. (makers of the NetDetective) software. A copy of the letter can be viewed here as well as the accompanying claims of NetDetective here.. It is my hopes that Mr. Stanley will respond to my letter as well as address the issues brought before him. As stated in the letter, if no response is given, then all of my investigation will be forwarded to the Attorney General of the State of Florida.
I received the return receipt from Cyber Space to Paradise. The return receipt was signed on June 4, 2004 at 11:33A.M. at the Deland, FL (32720) post office. The signature is hard to make out. It looks as if a T J Benui signed it. The only part which is clear is "TJ Ben". I have not received any response to date (not via phone, e-mail, or postal mail).
I have sent a final letter to John Stanley of Harris Digital Publishing. All previous correspondences (e-mail and postal) have been ignored. I have sent the letter to the two address I have on file. One being to the Woodland Blvd address and the over being to the McGregor Rd. address. I have sent the letters via regular first-class mail. I have decided to not waste the money on a certified letter to a company whom probably files in the garbage can.
I will wait about a week or two for a response. I will be contacting the Florida Attorney General's Office in regards to the matter. From all of the complaints I have found (e.g. ripoffreport.com and the Better Business Bureau) as well as the discrepancies in the claims Harris Digital Publishing has made, I find it would be hard for the Attorney General to not at least have heard of them. I cannot understand how a company such as Harris Digital Publishing can stay in business. I guess that is why there are websites like KnowNothing.Net, to notify people about shady businesses.
I have filed a complaint last night with the Florida Attorney General's Office. It is my hopes that the Attorney General will investigate Harris Digital Publishing and put a stop to them ripping people off. In the complaint, I mentioned a few of the discrepancies/claims of Harris Digital Publishing. Included was the main claim off of their NetDetective website of, "Relied upon by hundreds of LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES."
I have given the Attorney General a link directly to this report so that he and his staff may view all of the discrepancies of Harris Digital Publishing. When filing the complaint, I selected the subject of "False or Deceptive Trade Practices". I advise anyone whom has been ripped off by Harris Digital Publishing to file a complaint. You can fill out the online form to file a complaint with the Florida Attorney General's Office here.
I received a response from the NetDetective customer support. It was told to me that my letter was forwarded to them from a private resident. I had inquired as to which letter (I had sent a letter to the 909 McGregor Rd. address many months ago). Come to find out the letter which was forwarded to them was the one dated August 27. I still wonder what happened to the original letter.
I have requested permission to post their response to the e-mail sent to me on August 31, 2004. I had responded to the August 31 e-mail and also requested permission to post any responses after that. I was granted permission as long as I do not edit the e-mail. You can view the initial response I received on August 31, 2004 here. I responded to the initial e-mail and have received a response to that one. You can view my initial response as well as Net Detective's responses here.
By what I was told via the e-mail responses, it seems as if a few issues will be taken up with management. There are a few issues which are still a great concern of mine. In regards to the following claims of NetDetective:
The representative considers my concerns to be my own opinion and that the claims on the website are open to one's own perspective (so to speak). By NetDetective having that attitude, it concerns me. I feel that those claims are deceptive. As I know that just about any statement one makes is open to questioning and opinions, a customer or potential customer should not have to try and read between the lines. If the two mentioned statements are true, then so be it. One should not post a statement as such and it only be valid in specific cases. When you read my responses, it is my hopes you will understand what is really going on with the advertising practices of Harris Digital Publishing.
It has been over three years since I wrote this Investigative Report about the NetDetective software. It seems that they still have an "unsatisfactory" rating with the Better Business Bureau as well as numerous complaints are still being posted on RipOffReport.com. There is one thing I forgot to mention that I noticed while reformatting the Investigative Reports for the new website system. The email I received on August 31, 2004 claimed that the letter I sent to 909 McGregor Road was forwarded to them by a private resident. In a way, that was true, but in a way it was also deceptive. I didn't just pull the address of 909 McGregor Road out of the big blue sky. I obtained that information via the Florida Department of State Division of Corporations database.
You can view the current filing information here. When you look at this, you might be asking, "But this doesn't show 909 McGregor Road?" You're right, it doesn't. This is only because they no longer use that address on their filings. They only use the address of the business now. On the filing page you will notice you can view past filings. The information I obtained was in 2004, therefore, the 2003 filing would have the information for that period (view 2003 filing here). It was not until the 2006 filing did they start using only the 1392 S Woodland Blvd address. Furthermore, if you reverse trace the address of 1392 S Woodland Blvd, Deland Florida on whitepages.com, you get the following information:
Edwin J & John Stanley
On the website registration as well as the physical listing of the "Cyberspace to Paradise, Inc" business is 1392 S Woodland Blvd, Deland, FL. The address of the private citizen they received this letter from was not just some Joe that I accidentally sent the letter to. The address I sent the letter to (909 McGregor Road, Deland, FL) is the physical address of the owners of Cyberspace To Paradise (John Stanley and Deborah J. Stanley). It shows John Stanley as the Vice President and Deborah J. Stanley as the President.
I guess they figured they would use the excuse of a private citizen as their excuse for waiting so long to respond to my inquiry. In any case, I still personally believe that they are scam artists that they use false advertising and deceptive trade practices. I will be writing the Attorney General of Florida asking why do they allow such an unethical business with such a shady past to continue to operate. I will let the Attorney General know about my website so that he can read the truth about this unethical business.
On April 27, 2012 I received an email from a consumer in regards to Net Detective. They were inquiring as to whether Net Detective was still in business or not. I checked out the Net Detective website and it appeared as if they website was still functioning. I suggested they contact Net Detective via their phone toll-free number.
The consumer stated they were unable to sign on to Net Detective nor get any response from the company. They stated they had signed up for a renewal membership to Net Detective.
I received an e-mail on April 28, 2012 stating that the toll-free number on the Net Detective website gave an error of being disconnected. I called the toll-free number (800-853-9773) and got the same thing. The pre-recorded message was stating that the number had been disconnected and there was no forwarding number.
I performed a WHOIS query on the domain of netdetective.com (main site) and netdetective.net (support site). Both domains are using a WHOIS privacy guard service. That is, Net Detective / Harris Digital Publishing is hiding the contact information of the domain. I have stated this before multiple times that one should be leery of any company that hides their contact information. Since Net Detective is hiding their contact information and has no valid contact information on their website, I can only assume the company is out of business. However, it appears that they are still processing credit card orders.
I advised the consumer to file a chargeback with the bank of the issuer of the credit or debit card. The consumer paid for a service, is unable to access said service, and is unable to contact the business that sold the service. Therefore, they are well within their rights to file a chargeback. This is in compliance with Federal Regulation E §205.11(2)(b)(i).