If you don’t want to possibly be the victim of a scam, make sure you don’t abbreviate 2020.
As if bots and robo-calls weren’t enough, scammers are now trying to find scams in the way we sign 2020 in documents. While it’s second-nature to abbreviate 2020 as “1/1/20,” scammers can easily manipulate a document by changing it into “1/1/2000” or “1/1/2021.” Writing out the full date “could possibly protect you and prevent legal issues on paperwork,” according to Hamilton County, Ohio, Auditor Dusty Rhodes.
Ira Rheingold, the executive director of the National Association of Consumer Advocates, said it’s best to be aware of potential scamming ploys. In a message emailed to USA TODAY Thursday, Rheingold said scammers could use the method to establish an unpaid debt or to attempt to cash an old check. “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 wrote.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Post-dating could leave you open to scammers as well. For example, a check dated “1/1/20” could become “1/1/2021” next year, possibly making the uncashed check active again, Rheingold wrote. A similar method could be used for debts that are past the statute of limits, CBS News reports.
Rheingold says just opt to write the full date; writing the month would help, too. And police are cosigning Rheingold’s warning. “This is very sound advice and should be considered when signing any legal or professional document. It could potentially save you some trouble down the road,” the East Millinocket Police Department in Maine said in a Facebook post.