DENVER (CBS4) – Credit freezes are free in Colorado and all 50 states, under a new federal law.

A credit freeze restricts access to your credit file, essentially halting anyone from opening any new credit in your name. The rules used to vary by state, but previously it could cost up to $10 to put a freeze in place. That fee often had to be paid again when someone wanted to unfreeze it for any legitimate uses.

But under a new law that takes effect Friday, consumers anywhere in the U.S. can do so quickly and for free.

107445185 e1528825486680 Credit Freezes Now Free In Colorado, All 50 States

File photo of a man holding credit cards. (credit: DENIS CHARLET/AFP/Getty Images)

Experts say credit freezes are the best way to prevent criminals from opening an account in your name.

“The reason you would freeze it is to protect yourself. The reason you would unfreeze it is if you wanted to borrow money whether that’s a credit card or an auto loan, maybe even a small business loan,” said CBS News Business Analyst Jill Schlesinger.

Congress passed the law in response to last year’s massive Equifax hack, which exposed the private information of more than 145 million Americans. President Donald Trump signed it into law in May.

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