Is it safe to check my credit report online?

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Q. I want to get my credit reports from in the wake of the Equifax breach. I have concerns about this if it will ask for my Social Security number. Is it safe?
— Making sure

A. You’re smart to want to check your credit reports. This is something you should do once a year whether you’re involved in a data breach or not.

You can go to the Equifax site to see if you’re one of the more than 143 million Americans who were compromised, said Jody D’Agostini, a certified financial planner with AXA Advisors/The Falcon Financial Group in Morristown.

D’Agostini said federal law allows you to get a free report of your credit from all three reporting agencies once per year.

“You will in fact need to give your Social Security number to enter the site,” she said. “They have many safeguards in place, however, to assure that the person inquiring is in fact you.”

These will include other security questions, which may be more difficult for a scammer to answer, and you may need to consult your records to verify the correct answers, she said.

“As we have seen, nothing is foolproof, but they have taken strict measures to ensure that your information is guarded,” she said. “Checking your credit at least annually makes sense so that you can catch any early warnings that a suspicious party is inquiring about your credit.”

If ordering your reports online still makes you nervous, read this to learn about your other options.

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This story was first posted in November 2017. presents certain general financial planning principles and advice, but should never be viewed as a substitute for obtaining advice from a personal professional advisor who understands your unique individual circumstances.