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Don’t abbreviate 2020 when signing documents

STAFF REPORT

The call to avoid abbreviating the year 2020 on legal documents has been making headlines for the past few weeks. As reported by Sarah Brookbank and Joel Shannon with USA TODAY NETWORK, “the new year is giving scammers an easy way to forge documents, but you can protect yourself with an easy New Year’s resolution: Stop abbreviating the year.”

The report explained that this year’s abbreviation is easily changeable and could be used against consumers. Scammers could easily manipulate a document dated “1/1/20” into “1/1/2000” or even “1/1/2021” the report stated, adding that
According to Hamilton County, Ohio, Auditor Dusty Rhodes “writing out the full date “could possibly protect you and prevent legal issues on paperwork.”

While it’s early in the year for examples of this kind of fraud to emerge, the threat is real according to Ira Rheingold, the executive director of the National Association of Consumer Advocates. 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.