While we all hope for a happy and prosperous new year, scammers aren’t so generous of spirit.  With the start of the new decade and new year, many of us commonly abbreviate the year 2020 as simply ’20.   In the past, using an abbreviation for the year didn’t matter as much.  Now, it could cause you problems.

That’s because if you abbreviate 2020 to just ’20, scammers can easily change the year to a different year.  This becomes a problem particularly in legal documents.  Suppose you signed a document agreeing to start paying a debt on 1/15/20.  Scammers could easily change the date to 1/15/2019 and use it against you and try to collect additional payments.  This problem could also extend into the future.  A check dated 1/1/20 could become 1/1/2021 next year, making the uncashed check active again.  A similar method could also be employed for debts that are past the statue of limitations.

The solution is simple.  Resolve in the new year to write out the full year on every check, in every legal document, every time.