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Prevent Against Scam Opportunities in 2020

Welcome to the new decade, replete with new challenges to protect yourself against ever-inventive scam artists. In case you have not heard about this already or thought it was just a joke, please take this two-digit fix seriously. The National Association of Consumer Advocates (NACA) is reporting that the dawn of this decade creates unique opportunities for scammers when you abbreviate the year 2020 on official forms and documents to its shortened form xx/xx/20. The numbers representing the year are easily manipulated by nefarious individuals looking to exploit others, leaving them vulnerable to potential fraud.

CNN reports several ways abbreviating 2020 can create problems. The easiest way to understand this is by example. A document dated 1/5/20 can easily be changed to 1/5/2021 by merely adding the two numbers at the end of the year’s date. A check previously dated six months ago or more that has become "stale" can be made active by adding the number 21, making the check valid.

Another example is if you opt into signing a credit contract as a borrower, and the paperwork is dated 1/5/20. If the lender was less than credible and you might unwittingly miss a month or so of payments, the opportunity is created for the lender to add a 19 to the end of your signed date and argue you owe more than one year’s worth of payments.

While some are identifying this warning as fear-mongering, you have to ask yourself, how hard is it to simply create the discipline and sign the year as completed 2020? Of course, someone in the year xx/xx/19 could have added the number 99 to the end, creating a false document from 1999, but to be sure a document nearly 20 years out of date would get far easier dismissal than one that is being disputed between the years 2019 and 2020. Naturally, all dates can be altered on documents of any kind. Still, those within a more reasonable time frame of the current calendar suggest red flags should be raised for investigation because of the possibility for this type of date scam.