By Jim Donovan: The other day I mentioned a phone number that consumers can call in order to opt-out of pre-approved credit offers. That number is 1-888-5-OPT-OUT (1-888-567-8688).

Since giving out that number a few people have contacted me saying they were concerned because that OPT-OUT line requires that you provide your Social Security number. Indeed it does, and don’t worry, in this case it’s fine to reveal that information. The reason why you are required to provide your Social Security number is that in most cases those credit offers are linked to your credit history, which goes hand in hand with your Social Security number.

Another time that you’ll be required to reveal your Social Security number is if you wish to obtain a free copy of your credit report on That site has been set up by the government and the three major credit reporting bureaus to offer you one free credit report each year. That’s one report for each company, Equifax, Trans Union and Experian, per year for a total of three. Again, this is perfectly safe.

For some more advice on how to protect to your personal information, you may find this link helpful:

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