• 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.