Published January 4, 2020
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.