Today’s Solutions: March 03, 2024

2020 is finally here, and it’s coming with its own set of challenges. Not only do we have to break the habit of writing 2019, when we really mean 2020, but the dawn of a new decade also creates a unique opportunity for scammers, says Ira Rheingold, executive director for the National Association of Consumer Advocates.

How exactly, you ask?

When the year 2020 is abbreviated on official forms and documents, those looking to exploit unsuspecting people can easily manipulate those numbers and leave people potentially vulnerable to fraud.

For example, a document dated 1/4/20 can easily be changed to 1/4/2021 by adding two numbers at the end. There are several ways that could pose a problem. Rheingold cited the example of a stale check or one that was written more than six months or so ago. If you have an old check lying around that’s dated 1/4/20 and someone finds it, they could add “21” to the end of that date, and voila, the check is no longer stale.

The good news is that it’s incredibly simple to prevent this from happening. Just make sure to write 2020 on official documents instead of just “20”. It’s still early in the year and there’s no evidence yet that anyone has been scammed in this manner. But it’s better to be safe than sorry.

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