Never Use HighBeam Research

A substantial amount of money was just wiped out of one of my bank accounts through bogus charge on a debit card. The charge was made by HighBeam Research. I reached the company on the phone and was told the money was for an annual subscription fee. I said I was unaware I was a subscriber, I’d received no notice I was going to be charged, and I wanted my money back. They said they’d get back to me.

It’s possible (I have no memory of it) that I tried out their free trial subscription at some point, but I don’t remember signing on for the regular subscription, and I can’t imagine I would have, given what they charge. However, make a note not to ever use them at all, even for free. It’s not an honest company.

And if you can send a donation, I could use it.

13 thoughts on “Never Use HighBeam Research

  1. I have never understood why debit cards are so popular. The same thing happened to me with a credit card and he cc company took the charge right off. I probably don’t know an advantage that everyone else does. The company that I was charged by was Gevalia, expensive coffee, a real company but I sure am not one to sign up for that expensive coffee. Mysterious!!!!

  2. I’ve been seeing that company everywhere when doing research online — usually when I’m trying to find samizdat copies of old newspaper articles. I’ve been tempted to take the free trial, but nowhere on the site can I find any indication of how much they charge. That doesn’t inspire confidence.

  3. That sucks. I had somebody get one of my credit card numbers this summer (luckily it was credit, not debit). They used the stolen card to (get this) buy identity theft insurance. The irony almost made it worth while; you really can’t make this stuff up.

  4. Do a Credit Card charge back – you can do it for up to 18 months IIRC. Just tell the merchant bank for your card that the charge was for services not rendered, and that you want your money back.

    True, you have to convince the bank that you were scammed, but this is generally possible. The merchant bank holds the whip hand over the charging company here – they can literally take the money directly from their account.

  5. Indeed. is a domain listed in my hosts file, as a known fraud site. You’d do better to sue / call better business bureau.

  6. I talked to a guy at the bank today and he said they’d do a chargeback and get my money back, but I’ll be happier when I see it back in my account.

  7. There are a couple reports on them at already. You might consider a complaint to your state AG.

  8. Carol H, my debit card has the same protections as a credit card, when it comes to fraudulent transactions. I believe most do. It may vary by state.

  9. Maha, I had money taken out of my checking account at an ATM in NYC. I am near DC and don’t travel much at all. I talked to the bank, they told me another number to call, then I talked to a guy that said if I would sign a paper that I would be willing to help them prosecute, they would send back the money after they recieved my signature. I told him I would and he was sending the papers, and then like magic the money was back in the account and I hadn’t signed or sent anything. I think it was some place I had used my card that was sharing info with a criminal or something. Good luck with yours.

    Carol, I love my debit card. I don’t have to carry cash and if I need/want something, I can get it. I don’t have the interest a credit card would have.

  10. Your debit card has the same protections as a credit card, when it comes to fraudulent transactions, as long as you are using it as a credit card. If you enter your PIN for a direct debit transaction, you are NOT using it as a credit card, and my understanding is that direct debit transactions have much less protection.

  11. (to S.)
    Just to clarify credit card use. There is no interest charge if you pay it off the same month and don’t carry a balance. This is the only way I would advise using a credit card. If you don’t have that discipline then protected debit cards are a very good choice it sounds.
    I forgot to say to Maha, I am very sorry this happened.

  12. True, Marshall, though no web site has ever asked me for my PIN number, so I’m fairly sure this was a credit card transaction.

    I poked around their site as well and couldn’t find out how much they charged for their services. I assume it’s printed on a screen somewhere in very small text after you’ve entered your credit card information for their free trial, but I’m not going to give them my credit card to find out.

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