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Advice for New Year: Don't Abbreviate 2020

Authorities warn that could make it easy for scammers to modify a check or legal document
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 3, 2020 9:51 AM CST
Updated Jan 5, 2020 6:43 AM CST

(Newser) – It's a security tip unique to this particular new year: Authorities say people should avoid abbreviating the year 2020 on checks and any other documents. Instead, write out "2020" in its entirety. Why? Writing "1/3/20" or something like that makes it easy for someone to doctor the document by sticking a few numbers onto the end. Consider this example, from Ira Rheingold of the National Association of Consumer Advocates to USA Today: "Say you agreed to make payments beginning on 1/15/20. The bad guy could theoretically establish that you began owing your obligation on 1/15/2019, and try to collect additional $$$," Rheingold writes.

It might not be a high-probability scam, but even police departments—including the East Millinocket department in Maine in this Facebook post—say it's smart advice and "could potentially save you some trouble down the road." A story at KRON cites another example from auditor Dusty Rhodes in regard to legal papers. "If you just write 1/1/20, one could easily change it to 1/1/2017 (for instance) and now your signature is on an incorrect document," he writes. (Read more New Year stories.)

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