- By Levi Rickert
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — As you get into the habit of writing the new year on a legal document, including your personal checks, you should write out "2020" completely. Many are used to simply only using the two last digits of the year to legal documents, such a "12/31/19."
This year's abbreviation is too easily changable for some unscrupulous person and could leave you vulnerable to fraud. For instance, a scammer could easily change a document you dated for "1/23/20" to "1/23/2021."
Only using the last two digits of the year could cost you a lot, law enforcement and other experts say.
"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 $$$," Ira Rheingold, executive director of the National Association of Consumer Advocates, told USA Today via an email earlier this week.While most people are honest and would never think to alter a check or other legal document, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." Writing out "2020" entirely may save you in the end.
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