Here’s how to protect yourself from would-be scammers.

By Meghan Overdeep
January 06, 2020

A word of warning as we enter 2020.

Earlier this week, a police department in Maine issued a bit of advice via their Facebook page about abbreviating 2020 in the new year.

Related: There's a Secret Code Thieves Use to Break Into Hotel Safes

According to the East Millinocket Police Department, writing “20” instead of “2020” when signing legal and/or professional documents can allow scammers to easily modify the date to include a different year.

Westend61/Getty Images

“March 3rd, 2020 being written as 3/3/20 could be modified to 3/3/2017 or 3/3/2018,” the post explains. “Protect yourself.”

Commenters were quick to point out that any abbreviated date can be modified, which led the police department to elaborate on why only writing “20” is particularly dangerous. In an edit to the original Facebook caption, the department explained that altered “20” dates are far more likely to elude detection than “19” dates due to the fact that the appearance of a document from 1999 would raise more red flags than a 2019 document in 2020.

Ira Rheingold, the executive director of the National Association of Consumer Advocates, echoed the police department’s warning.

Related: Here’s Exactly What to Do If Your Credit Card Gets Lost or Stolen

In a message emailed to USA Today, 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 $$$," he explained.

The solution? Write out the full date. It could save you some trouble down the road.

This story originally appeared on SouthernLiving.com.

Advertisement

Comments

Be the first to comment!