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ING Responds to Electric Orange Security Issue

When we last left our friend Rick*, he’d been told that he could never open an ING Electric Orange account, and he was scrambling to figure out what company is giving out false information about his identity. Since then, ING Direct has responded to both Rick and myself.

Here is a portion of the email Rick received from the Ombudsman:

We received your email and we wanted to follow-up with you.

Since we are a direct Bank, we do not get to meet our Customers face-to-face. For your security, we ask questions to help confirm your identity. A third party creates the Identity Verification Questions using various sources that contain your personal history.

Please know that the information you are referring to comes from a third party database. ING DIRECT is unable to inform you of the third party vendor that we obtain this information from.

If you would still like to open an Electric Orange, our Customer Security Department will attempt to verify your identity through alternative means.

So, still no word on who the “third party vendor” is that Rick has to wrestle with. But, there’s hope in this email – it looked like Rick would be able to open an ING Electric Orange checking account after all!

Rick immediately called ING Direct, answered more security questions (ones that were actually accurate, this time), and was told that he was approved. It actually took a day for the approval to go through… because Rick himself had blocked it from happening. How? Why, that fraud alert he put on his credit reports because of this fiasco! Once that was cleared up, he received word that his new account is open.

ING Direct also responded to me directly, in a comment left on my previous post:

Hi Stephanie & “Rick”- Thanks for your passion about this. As a direct bank, we aren’t able to meet with all our Customers face-to-face so we need some security measures to safeguard our Customers’ personal account information & protect their accounts from any potentially fraudulent activity.

One of those measures is to ask a few questions at account opening to which only the Customer should know the answers. We give our customers two opportunities to answer these questions correctly, as Rick experienced, before an account can be opened. If a Customer can’t answer these questions correctly at that time, we are unable to confirm his/her identity and cannot open the account for him/her.

There are several companies out there (e.g. eBureau) that provide this service. They get their information from various sources including credit bureaus. (Your recommendation that people check their credit reports annually is important; however the verification process we use does not access your credit. In other words, Rick’s credit was not affected in this process.)

We’ll work with Rick to see if there was another issue that may be causing him a problem. Our intent is not to turn down business or cause our Customers grief. It’s to prevent them from having to deal with the pain of someone stealing their identity or worse, their money.

We wish Rick the best of luck in his new job, locating his license and looking for a new car.

More of the same, mostly, but a clue as to which “third party agency” we may be dealing with. I haven’t heard of eBureau, so whether or not that’s truly the company in question, I thank ING Direct for cluing me into another player in this field.

Lastly, Rick’s story was picked up in a Consumerist post, Man Says Byzantine ING Identity Verification Stops Him From Opening Account. The comments on that are worth reading: it’s a mix of hilarious commentary and commiseration from others who’ve been in similar situations.

Final Thoughts

Honestly, I still love ING Direct. I can understand their need to verify identities, and once brought to their attention, they handled this situation fairly well. What ultimately went wrong was having two customer service reps tell Rick that he could never ever open that account. It ended causing a lot of unnecessary grief, and it wasn’t even true.

Rick is, understandably, still sore about the situation. He’s not cancelling his ING Direct accounts, but he’s not their biggest cheerleader now, either. But when it comes right down to it, we’re gearing up to take down the real monster here: Mysterious Third Party Agency That Has Wrong Information About Rick. Oh, and the Post Office. Because losing someone’s license is really not cool, USPS.

*Rick is still not his real name. Although I think he’s warming to it and may legally change it to that. Or not.

15 responses to “ING Responds to Electric Orange Security Issue”

  1. Kelly Whalen

    Sheesh. What a terrible experience!
    Make sure Rick* knows to report the loss of his license to the USPS. They have n online form somewhere.
    Hopefully it doesn’t end up in the wrong hands!

  2. teqjack

    Stephanie, I know you didn’t quite mean that about tracking. True, most agencies like the DMV do not use tracking. But this is NOT because USPS, UPS, FedEx etc do not provide it, it is (presumably) because it costs a bit more. A business can add this to operating expense (at least for packages, if not mailing bills etc.) since it is just a few cents per, but I will admit some government agency doing so might arouse my anger…

  3. Abby Joy

    So…did you get your 3000th comment? That’s pretty impressive. 🙂

  4. gary beloin

    I had forgotten my pin with ing direct . went through much of the same hassle . my identity questions were half pertaining to me – the rest to my son who also has an ing account .they asked questions relating to his dorm address . I recognized the error and had a difficult time correcting the information . it took a few days and several calls , but I finally was mailed a new pin and was able to gain access my money…..

  5. Kelly


  6. mapgirl

    Stephanie – Your friend Rick has recently moved. Sometimes DMV does not allow their mail to be forwarded. I wouldn’t be so quick to blame USPS for a DMV policy. Also, when did he fill out a mail-forwarding card? If he did it at the wrong time, i.e. retroactively, the license might be in a dead-letter bin somewhere. That’s not lost. That’s your friend not notifying the USPS of his move in a timely manner.

    BTW, why would he let the license come through the mail anyway? Is the security of getting his re-issued license not worth a trip to get it in person? After my 4 trips to DC DMV to prove my identity in person and other DMV crap, I’m really curious how he could get a license with address change via the mail.

    Sorry but that seems a tad foolish on your friend’s part not to make getting a license in person a priority. In DC and VA, I had to do it in person because I was going from state to state. On my last move, intra-DC, I will have to do it in person to present my proof of residency. So what’s the deal here? Did he forget to send in a mail forwarding card in a timely manner?

  7. Nickname @ Enough Wealth

    You and ‘rick’ seem to get flustered by the smallest hiccups…

    From what I read in the earlier post, it seemed that the ING call centre staff were saying that rick could not open an account over the phone if he kept getting the ID questions wrong, not that he was suddenly black-listed and would never be able to open an account. To me it seems perfectly reasonable for ING to not open a new account over the phone if someone gets ID questions wrong. The real issue here is that when the ID questions are invalid there’s no way to get that problem fixed as ING isn’t willing to state who they are. But I can understand why such a third party identity data service would wish to remain anonymous (otherwise ID scammers would make accessing their data a top priority). I suggest ‘rick’ writes a complaint detailing what ID question were incorrect, and ask that ING pass his complaint on to the third party.

    Regarding the lost licence, what do you expect to happen when the item wasn’t tracked? USPS can’t say that they definitely lost it just because the intended recipient didn’t get it – if it was sent to a letter box it was probably stolen. Similarly, I can understand the DMV not issuing a replacement licence until it has ‘proof’ that the original was lost. I suggest rick just tells the DMV that he has lost the licence and asks for a new one. In that case he will probably just have to fill out some form. It will be a lot quicker than trying to get the USPS or DMV to break their own procedural rules 😉

  8. Roger

    Well, it’s good that things seem to have worked out for Rick, although not without leaving some unanswered questions about ING and its policies. I’ll be interested to learn more about this ‘third party vendor’ myself.

  9. Slinky

    One of those measures is to ask a few questions at account opening to which only the Customer should know the answers.

    Uh….then how do THEY? If some third party company can get these answers…can’t other people?

  10. John

    I am having the same issue and ING is not helping to try and fix the problem. I was asked certain questions of people I don’t even know when going through the verification process. I have emailed and called customer service, but they have not been very helpful.

    I do asked where they get there information from they said from “various ways”. I find this to be scary and frustrating at the same time.

    Any advice????

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