Google wants images of my passport, driver’s license, bank statement, etc.

Farewell google. What else can I say? Seriously.

I tried to purchase something from the Google Play store, in my android tablet today, and I keep getting an error that doesn’t say much of anything. “Your order could not be processed. Please try again.” So I tried a different credit card, I tried adding new credit card, still generic error messages.

So I tried logging into google wallet via web browser. They ask for Account Verification. Which includes Driver’s License, (upload scanned images), passport, or other photo ID, bank statement, credit card statement, and/or utility bill.

Here’s what they say:

We were unable to verify the credit or debit card information for your recent order. Your order has been cancelled and your card was not charged. Rest assured that Google is committed to preserving the security of your information and providing a safe online shopping experience.

To resolve this issue, you’ll need to scan the following verification documents to your computer and then upload them below.

If you don’t have a scanner, please click here. (Fax option)

Until we receive and verify the requested documents, future orders will not be processed. Please do not create additional accounts.

If you choose not to submit these verification documents, your account will remain suspended and you will not be able to place orders or access your Google Wallet account.

They ask for my driver’s license, passport, bank statement, credit/debit card statement, utility bill.

Obviously, I’m not going to give them any or all of that stuff. Just so I can pay them $0.99 for some stupid app.

When I pay other companies, they do normal things, like, redirect me to Verified By Visa, or stuff like that. This whole process is taking place over SSL secured https… And I have a strong password and two-factor authentication on my google account… So there’s seriously no way for any fraud to be taking place either by me or anyone else trying to hack my account or anything. This is going way too far. Nobody in their right mind should give any credit card payment processing center their driver’s license, passport, bank statement, etc.

Foolish. Baaah!!! I want to play my stupid video game! 😉 Too bad…

4 Comments.

  1. It’s understandable and understood that a bank will need to verify your home address, and various forms of personal information in order for you to open an account. They’re going to hold your cash and they need some way to verify that you are a real person, you are who you say you are, and they need to verify your identity when somebody comes in claiming to be you and requesting all your cash.

    When you buy a battery from http://www.batteriesonline.com, they do not ask you for your SSN, your photo id, etc. They take your credit card info, and ask Visa or Mastercard (or whoever) to verify it. A vendor can use Verified By Visa, or Mastercard Securecode, or whatever equivalent alternatives are offered by some other banks… When they do this, the consumer is redirected to their credit card site, and asked to verify some of the personal information that was submitted when the credit card account (or bank account) was opened. Visa or Mastercard (or whoever) will simply say “yes” or “no” to the vendor. The vendor does not get your personal verification information. The vendor is not able to go make purchases at other sites using the information you just gave them.

    If Google is supposedly increasing security by asking consumers for this information, shouldn’t batteriesonline.com also ask for it, to increase their security? And amazon, and ChineseMemory2Cheap.com, and UsedCalculators4Less.com … Shouldn’t they all be asking for this kind of information?

    Emphatically, the answer is no. A big fat no.

    It is the job of the vendor to communicate with you securely, via https, with username and password, and hopefully some complexity requirements. Perhaps with a verified email address. The consumer will provide credit card info to the vendor, and after that, the vendor is supposed to use that information to get funds from the credit card / bank. It is the job of the bank to keep your private funds and private security information private. The bank that you entrusted to hold your cash should be the only entity holding the verification documents necessary to access your cash. These verification documents should never reach the hands of the vendor, whom you are agreeing to pay a fraction of your cash in exchange for goods and services.

    • If someone else logs into google wallet, they can look up google wallet support for you:

      https://support.google.com/wallet/bin/request.py?contact_type=wallet_general
      “To give us a call directly, please call 1-855-492-5538. ”

      But if your account is on hold, you just get the “Account Verification” page, and if you try to click help, you get a blank white box.

      The above mentioned 855 number was given to me by a stranger on the internet. I hope it’s a good number, but I didn’t call it. Here’s what I was able to find, and how I found it:

      I posted a message on gmail help forums, asking how to find google wallet help. Then I thought I would post a link to that message here, so I logged back into gmail forums, to get a URL to the message. I don’t see any way to get a copy-able URL, but while I’m in there, I notice, by viewing my post, there is a backlink trail at the top… Google Product Forums > Gmail > My message. These are clickable, so I click the Google Product Forums. (Something I searched for and couldn’t find until I posted and viewed my post.)

      From here, there is no forum for wallet, but there is Android Market, and Google Checkout Merchant. Unfortunately I can’t get into Google Checkout Merchant… But if I go to Android Market forums, and then the Google Play Help Center, Help Resources, Contact Us, they give me a web form. I can email them to Contact Google Play about Android Apps, or Report an Inappropriate App. For all issues, go back to help center.

      But there is a Click 2 Call form there. I enter my phone number, and they will call me. Which I did. And I’ll write a little about, momentarily.

      • I called support (click 2 call, actually they called me) and talked with their rep for a while. He couldn’t or wouldn’t tell me why my account was placed on hold, but he confirmed, I am banned for life, to buy anything via google wallet ever again, unless I upload those documents. This of course means I’m banned from using google apps or buying anything in google play, because their only available payment methods are google wallet. I kept arguing with him and pressing him, and finally he agreed to escalate to another level of support. He said, if I ever want to use google wallet again, without uploading those docs, this is the only way. They are not available via phone; email is the only way. They might just tell me the same thing again.

        Right now, I have a ticket open with the 2nd level support. It’s been about 36 hours now. I don’t have any response yet … I don’t know if I’ll ever get one, but right now it’s too soon to say if they’re being reasonably or unreasonably timely. They could reply today for all I know, and that would be completely reasonable.

        Separate but related: There is no known way to contact google play. They don’t have a help site, forum, email, or phone number, that I can find, anywhere. (Correction, they have a help page, but if you try to contact them, the only options they give you are “Contact Google Play about Android Apps” and “Report an inappropriate app.” If you follow the link for “Contact Google Play about Android Apps” then you get a list of options, you must pick one, and none are appropriate. “I am a developer and I have a question,” and so on.

        Despite their lack of help, I’ve been thinking a lot and talking to a lot of people. And I’m pretty sure I figured out what happened in my case.

        About 6 months ago, my 2 yr old daughter was playing with the tablet, and spent $50. I got an email thanking me for my purchase, and I immediately got the tablet, and tried to refund it in the 15-minute refund window. But it was too late.

        I searched around and found that you can enable a PIN for purchases. So I enabled this to prevent it from happening again.

        I tried contacting google play (or android market, whatever they were called at the time). I could not find any contact info anywhere… No help site, phone number, email address, no nothing.

        I know now, but I didn’t know then, that I should have contacted google wallet. But who knows – Maybe they wouldn’t have been helpful. They might just say “You need to contact Google Play,” and “No, we don’t have any contact info for them, sorry.” Or maybe they would be helpful. I don’t know.

        I called american express. Explained that it was just a mistake, yes I have my card in my posession and control, no it wasn’t fraud, it was just a mistake. I said, I can’t find any way to contact the vendor, and asked, Do you have any way to contact them? Amex said yes, they can contact the vendor.

        I don’t remember now, if it was days later or weeks later, Amex got back to me, and said, google was unresponsive to their contact requests, so they refunded my $50.

        I had long since forgotten about this, but now that I remember it, I’m sure this is why google banned me. But they won’t tell me why, they won’t answer any questions, they say I should “just trust them” and upload my personal documents.

        And now I see, fcsam says, even if you do upload those documents, they still might leave your account locked out, without any further explanation.

    • Heyyy!!! That worked! I didn’t upload the docs, and my account has been reinstated.

      So, in summary, here’s what I learned:

      #1 Yes there is a google play (android market) help forum; you just can’t get there by going to google play. Start by going to http://support.google.com From there you can get to Google Wallet Help, Google Play Help, or whatever you want.

      #2 If your account is on hold (you’re being prompted for verification driver’s license, passport, bank statements, etc) call the Google Wallet support number, or use Click 2 Call, to have them call you. Explain nicely to whoever you get, that you are seeing the Account Verification page requesting your driver’s license, passport, bank statements, etc. You don’t know why your account is on hold, you don’t want to give out these types of documents, etc. Expect them to tell you there is no workaround, you simply have to do it, and they won’t tell you why. And ask them what escalation options you have. “Seriously, I’m banned for life? And you won’t tell me why? And based on this, I’m expected to submit personal information about myself? Can’t I talk to a manager or something?”

      The person I talked to sent me an email, and told me, when I reply to the email, my response will automatically get entered into the support notes for this case, and will be reviewed by the second level support person. I replied the same day, with all the explanation I could think of.

      Two days later (maybe three) I got a response from the second level person, saying my account has been verified, taken off hold, and I’m now permitted to make purchases through google wallet again.

      I was skeptical, and I tested it before I said Thank You. 😉