Should I give my Social Security number for credit reports?

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Q. It it safe to give my Social Security number online to receive my credit report from the three credit bureaus?
— Security concerned

A. You’re smart to want to protect your Social Security number, especially in the wake of all these data breaches.

But yes, if you’re talking about getting your credit reports for free from AnnualCreditReport.com, it’s generally safe. And it’s required.

In its Frequent Asked Questions section, the site says, “The site’s security protocols and measures protect the personal information you provide. You must enter your Social Security Number to receive a free credit report through AnnualCreditReport.com.”

If you’re really not comfortable, there are other ways to get your free reports

You can do it by phone. Call (877) 322-8228. You’ll still have to go through a verification process over the phone, and then your report will be mailed to you within 15 days.

If you want to do it by mail, you can download the request form here.  Then you can mail the form to Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281. Then your report will be mailed to you within 15 days.

If you follow the online process, though, you will get your credit reports immediately.

Email your questions to moc.p1566396789leHye1566396789noMJN1566396789@ksA1566396789.

This story was originally published in August 2019.

NJMoneyHelp.com 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.