• Dean Smith

Abbreviating “2020” Could Leave You Vulnerable to Fraud

Welcome to 2020. It’s a new year and the decade turnover has provided scam artists with a new opportunity to forge documents. On Saturday, January 4, 2020, several news sources reported that authorities are warning that shortening “2020” to just “20” could leave you vulnerable to fraud, pointing out that any document dated with an abbreviated “20,” instead of “2020,” is easily altered by adding two numbers at the end.


CBS explained, saying that a signed dated “1/3/20” could be changed easily by a scammer to read “2019,” “2000,” or any other year from this century. Forgers could use this change to cash an old check or create an unpaid debt.

CNN used this example to show how this could affect credit contracts – or any agreement between a borrower and a lender. Assume you dated this contract “1/4/20,” and miss a month or two of payments for some reason. The lender then attempts to collect the debt that’s owed. Theoretically, the lender could add “19” to the end of “1/4/20,” and argue you owe more than a year’s worth of payments.

The solution is simple. According to Dusty Rhodes, an auditor in Hamilton County, Ohio. Write out the full date. “It could possibly protect you and prevent legal issues on paperwork,” he tweeted Dusty Rhodes.


Consumer advocates, auditors and police departments around the country have been busy issuing similar warnings, and they’ve been posting on social media.


“Prevent yourself from becoming a victim,” the NYPD 120th Precinct warned.


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