Avoid Fraud in 2020 By Writing the Complete Date

Protect your documents from scammers who could change the date on your important documents.

Scammers could make your 2020 miserable if you abbreviate the year as ‘20 when dating legal documents, authorities are warning.

That ‘20 could be turned into “2018” or “2019” on a check or other legal document, setting you up for fraud, according to the Takoma Park Police Department in Takoma Park, Maryland.

For instance, the scammers could date that captured check to “2021” and attempt to cash it again next year. Another scenario: Say you signed documents agreeing to start paying debt on 1/3/20. That could be turned into 1/3/2019, and the scammers could attempt to collect past debt.

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The simple solution: Fully write out the year -- 2020 -- on any legal documents, authorities say.

Bob Niedt

Bob was Senior Editor at Kiplinger.com for seven years and is now a contributor to the website. He has more than 40 years of experience in online, print and visual journalism. Bob has worked as an award-winning writer and editor in the Washington, D.C., market as well as at news organizations in New York, Michigan and California. Bob joined Kiplinger in 2016, bringing a wealth of expertise covering retail, entertainment, and money-saving trends and topics. He was one of the first journalists at a daily news organization to aggressively cover retail as a specialty and has been lauded in the retail industry for his expertise. Bob has also been an adjunct and associate professor of print, online and visual journalism at Syracuse University and Ithaca College. He has a master’s degree from Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and a bachelor’s degree in communications and theater from Hope College.