ETrade froze my account and wouldn't tell me why until, after about 5 calls, I finally got through to someone competent enough to figure it out. Something about me logging in from my work computer caused them to think there was "suspicious activity" going on. Not sure what sort of stone age technology a place has to use to be unable to handle my perfectly standard use, but apparently they were about 10 years behind the rest of the world on this one. I was still able to deposit, of course, but all withdrawals failed.
I had just opened the account, and was still exploring other savings account options, so I had no desire to stick with etrade, and tried to just close my account so the balance would be sent to me as a check. I thought I would at least be able to do that... I mean they just have to send the money in the account to the person and address that it was opened and funded with... I don't see how that could be remotely dangerous. But they refused until I verified I was myself, by going to a notary and getting a letter notarized saying that I was me, I lived at the address on the account, and I wanted the account activated.
What's with all the security questions and other identify verification info? Couldn't I have simply given them everything over the phone... all the security question answers, my account password, my account #, my social, passport #, my name, address, phone #, date of birth, past addresses, favorite color, etc???? Jesus...
SUPER annoying. Especially because this was right after being laid off, when I was considering starting my own business and might have needed to have quick access to that money, which was most of my savings, since, after testing it with a few small transfers back and forth between etrade and my checking, I had just gone on to put most of what I had into it. Luckily I didn't need it, but it was frustrating regardless, and I was blown away that a bank could let me open an account, fund it, and then freeze it and refuse access to it (or even the ability to close it!) until I jumped through hoops to prove something that I can't understand how it wasn't already proven.
Still trying to figure out what they could prevent by this silly process. I guess I could have opened the account, and funded it with someone else's stolen account info... but then me sending in a letter saying I'm me doesn't resolve any fraud going on there. Or maybe someone else could have opened an account in my name but with their address, funded it with my stolen checking account info. But then they'd end up with a check made out to me, so... And if they had my checking account info, why not just directly access that? [censored]ing etrade... essentially thieves in this situation.
So when putting cash into an etrade account, just be aware that at any moment they could seemingly arbitrarily decide to deny you access to it until you send them a notarized letter in the mail (approximately a 10-12 day process to get access again). Your assets in there might not be as liquid as you want.