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This year’s Cybersecurity Awareness Month initiative highlights the importance of cybersecurity by encouraging individuals & organizations to take measures to ensure they stay safe online  

SAN DIEGO, September 22, 2021 – Today, the Identity Theft Resource Center® (ITRC), a nationally recognized nonprofit organization established to support victims of identity crime, announced its commitment to Cybersecurity Awareness Month (CSAM), held annually in October. The ITRC joins the growing global effort to promote the awareness of staying safe online. CSAM 2021 is a collaborative effort among businesses, government agencies, colleges and universities, associations, nonprofit organizations, and individuals committed to the CSAM theme of ‘Do Your Part. #BeCyberSmart.’ 

“The importance of good cybersecurity and its link to identity protection is reinforced every day,” said Eva Velasquez, President and CEO of the Identity Theft Resource Center. “Cybersecurity is a critical issue that affects everyone, whether you are a business owner, company employee, or a consumer. Online safety, identity protection and data privacy is important for everyone. The ITRC continues to stay committed to our mission, to help consumers and businesses with best practices, and to help everyone #BeCyberSmart.” 

The ITRC will lead or participate in the following activities during CSAM 2021: 

  • Sept 29, 2021 – “How to Secure Your Online Life” Webinar 

On September 29, the ITRC will take part in a webinar with Verity-IT, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency (CISA) of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on how to secure your online life. The one-hour session will give an overview of the cyber basics. 

  • Oct 6, 2021 – Release of Q3 2021 Data Breach Trend Analysis 

On October 6, the ITRC will release its data breach information for the third quarter of 2021. In the ITRC’s H1 2021 Data Breach Trend Analysis, the ITRC reported a 38 percent increase in data breaches quarter-over-quarter and predicted an all-time high number of data breaches by year’s end if breaches continued at the first half of the year’s pace. Sign up for the Monthly Data Breach Newsletter to get alerts and this report directly to your inbox. 

Save The Date – ITRC 2021 Business Aftermath Report to be released October 2021
  • Oct 27, 2021 – Release of Inaugural Business Aftermath Report 

On October 27, the ITRC will release its first-ever report on the impacts of identity crimes and cyberattacks on small businesses. Cyberattacks and the resulting security and data breaches can have a devastating effect on any business. However, small organizations and solopreneurs often lack the resources to prevent or defend against cybercrimes. The 2021 Business Aftermath Report is the first major independent, publicly-reported research into what happens specifically to small businesses following a data or security breach. Sign up to get this report directly to your inbox and more highlights from the ITRC. 

  • Oct 27, 2021 – Nasdaq Cybersecurity Summit 

On October 27 at 10 a.m. EST/7 a.m. PST, the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) will host its annual Nasdaq Cybersecurity Summit virtually and at the Nasdaq MarketSite in Times Square, New York. The ITRC will participate as a partner in this event that looks at research and best practices for designing security products and processes that are usable by those who need them. 

  • The ITRC’s Weekly Breach Breakdown and Fraudian Slip Podcast Episodes  

Check out the ITRC’s latest podcasts, “The Fraudian Slip” (monthly), where we talk about all-things identity compromise, crime and fraud that impact people and businesses, as well as “The Weekly Breach Breakdown” (weekly), covering the most recent events and trends related to data security and privacy.  

More on CSAM 2021 

Technology plays a part in almost everything we do in life. Mobile and connected smart devices are woven into society as an integral part of how people communicate and access services essential to their well-being. Despite these great advances in technology and the conveniences this provides, recent events have shown us how quickly our lives and businesses can be disrupted when cybercriminals and adversaries use technology to do harm. Now in its 18th year, CSAM continues to build momentum and impact with the ultimate goal of providing everyone with the information they need to stay safe online.  

The ITRC is proud to support this far-reaching online safety awareness and education initiative co-led by CISA the NCSA. 

For more information about CSAM 2021, staying safe online and how to participate in a wide variety of activities, visit staysafeonline.org/cybersecurity-awareness-month/. You can also follow and use the official hashtag #BeCyberSmart on social media throughout the month.  

About the Identity Theft Resource Center 

Founded in 1999, the Identity Theft Resource Center® (ITRC) is a national nonprofit organization established to empower and guide consumers, victims, business and government to minimize risk and mitigate the impact of identity compromise and crime. Through public and private support, the ITRC provides no-cost victim assistance and consumer education through its website live-chat idtheftcenter.org and toll-free phone number 888.400.5530. The ITRC also equips consumers and businesses with information about recent data breaches through its data breach tracking tool, notified. The ITRC offers help to specific populations, including the deaf/hard of hearing and blind/low vision communities.  

About Cybersecurity Awareness Month 

Cybersecurity Awareness Month is designed to engage and educate public and private-sector partners through events and initiatives with the goal of raising awareness about cybersecurity to increase the resiliency of the nation in the event of a cyber incident. Since the Presidential proclamation establishing Cybersecurity Awareness Month in 2004, the initiative has been formally recognized by Congress, federal, state and local governments and leaders from industry and academia. This united effort is necessary to maintain a cyberspace that is safer and more resilient and remains a source of tremendous opportunity and growth for years to come. For more information, visit staysafeonline.org/cybersecurity-awareness-month/.  

About National Cyber Security Alliance  

The National Cyber Security Alliance is a nonprofit alliance on a mission to create a more secure connected world. We enable powerful, public-private partnerships in our mission to educate and inspire individuals to protect themselves, their families and their organizations for the collective good. For more information on the National Cyber Security Alliance, please visit https://staysafeonline.org

Media Contact     

Identity Theft Resource Center     
Alex Achten     
Head of Earned & Owned Media Relations      
888.400.5530 Ext. 3611     
media@idtheftcenter.org 

  • If you have a Venmo account, you may have been asked recently to re-verify your identity on Venmo. The payment app asks  users to do so as part of compliance with government regulations. Anyone who does not take part in the identity verification process will not be able to store money on the app. Instead, money will have to go to and from a bank account or credit card.
  • While there is always a risk in providing sensitive information to a company, identity verification is necessary to reduce the number of identity crimes. Venmo also made changes to its privacy settings. Users can now select a “public,” “friends” or “private” setting for their friends list. They can also opt-out of being seen on the friends lists of other Venmo users.
  • To learn more, or if you believe you were the victim of a payment app identity crime, contact the Identity Theft Resource Center toll-free by phone (888.400.5530) or live-chat. Just go to www.idtheftcenter.org to get started.

Have you recently received a message asking you to verify your identity on Venmo? Has the payment app asked you to verify information like your Social Security number (SSN), address and other personal information? If so, it’s not a scam. Venmo is in the middle of making some changes, including updating its privacy settings and doing identity verification with all of its users. The payment app is reaching out to users asking them to re-verify their identity as required by government regulations.

What the Changes Mean

If you are asked to verify your identity on Venmo, you have to do it, or else you will not be able to store money on the app. You can still use it, but money would have to go to and from a bank account or credit card, according to Venmo’s rules. While some are skeptical about the messages they are receiving, and about providing their personal information, the goal of identity verification is to avoid phishing attacks and other scams.

Venmo is also now giving people an option to select a “public,” “private” or “friends” setting for their friends list and to opt-out of being seen on the friends lists of other Venmo users.

The Rise in Cash App Scams

Cash app scams have seen a rise since COVID-19. Over the last year and a half, scammers have been out in full force targeting cash app users on social media, via email and through texts in hopes to steal user’s money and identities. Asking you and others to verify your identity on Venmo and offering more privacy settings could slow down the pace of cash app scams by limiting the use of fraudulent accounts, especially when more people are using payment apps.

Why You Should Verify Your Identity on Venmo

If a company stores sensitive information, the user is always at risk if the company is ever breached. However, as Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) president and CEO Eva Velasquez told Slate Magazine in a recent interview, identity authentication and verification is still a really important step that has to be taken to stem  identity crimes. It is why the ITRC encourages people, if it is legitimate, to participate in the identity verification process. It is an important way for you to protect yourself and it creates more barriers criminals must try to successfully evade to commit payment app scams.

If you decide you want to verify your identity with Venmo, you can do so by going to your Venmo app, opening up your settings, and tapping “identity verification.” Prompts will then guide you throughout the process. You can only do this on the Venmo app and not the website.

How to Stay Safe on Venmo

While you are better protected if you verify your identity on Venmo, scams and identity crimes can still happen. Here are some tips to keep you safe:

  • Enable all the security features like screen lock/biometric lock and Find my Phone to keep hackers from accessing your payment app and stealing login credentials or money.
  • Use a strong and unique password to reduce the risk of hacking. The ITRC recommends a passphrase that is at least 12 characters long.
  • Beware of phishing attacks and avoid unsolicited emails or text messages that ask you to send money directly through Venmo. Never click on any links or attachments in messages you aren’t expecting. Criminals may send people an unsolicited payment request through a mobile app.
  • Look for red flags like payments you did not make using Venmo. If you are victimized, you should report it to Venmo, change your account password and consider scanning your device with antivirus software.
  • Consider other cyber-hygiene practices like multifactor authentication using an app on your phone. Also, consider taking advantage of Venmo’s new privacy settings and limit the number of people who can see your account by going to “Settings” and then “Privacy” in the Venmo app. Additional layers of protection will keep your account more secure.

Contact the ITRC

If you want to learn more about how to verify your identity on Venmo, have questions or concerns about the process, or believe you are the victim of a cash app identity crime, contact the ITRC. You can speak with an advisor toll-free by phone (888.400.5530) or live-chat. Just visit www.idtheftcenter.org to get started.