Why It’s Important to Write “2020” This Year

01.10.2020 Written by: Henningson & Snoxell, Ltd.

Why It's Important to Write 2020 This Year

Happy 2020! Besides it being the start of a new decade nothing much should change, right? Well, there may be something you want to take note of when writing out checks or signing documents – the year.

If you’re like me, you typically don’t write out the entire date when signing a check or document. Most likely, you abbreviate it, i.e. “1/1/20” or “1.1.20.” Unfortunately, that abbreviation could lead to a new avenue for fraudsters to take advantage of your financial assets.

Most banks state on their checks how long you have to cash or deposit a check. So if, for example, a check is written on January 1, 2020, it probably has to be cashed or deposited by July 1, 2020 (or by whatever date your bank requires). By not writing out 2020 in full, the risk is that a scam artist could fill in the blanks after “20” for whatever year they want. 

For instance, if the check’s date was 1/1/20 (and was intended to be cashed by July 1, 2020) a scammer could write in 1/1/2021, allowing them to deposit a check in a later year without the bank even thinking twice about the check.

Legal documents such as contracts, rental agreements, service agreements, etc. would also be at risk.

Let’s say you signed a lease agreement to lease a building from 1/1/20 to 12/1/20. A person wanting to take advantage of the situation could change the 12/1/20 to 12/1/2021 and claim you owe them rent for that additional time. If you don’t have any documentation of your own to back up the original agreement you thought you were entering into, you could be on the hook.

In this day and age, scam artists and fraudsters will try to take advantage of anyone at any time. If they are can “get” one person by using this scam, they will keep trying. 

So, what should you do?

  • Keep copies of any important legal documents that you sign.
  • Use the full year (“2020”) on your checks and documents, instead of shortening it to “20”.

Please call our office at 763-560-5700 if you have any concerns or questions.

Attorney Adam J. Kaufman

Adam Kaufman is an attorney at the firm of Henningson & Snoxell, Ltd. located in Maple Grove, Minnesota. Adam helps individuals and families of all sizes and asset levels, by advising them and preparing: Wills Trusts Health care directives; and Powers of attorney. Adam assists individuals with their elder law needs, including medical assistance, incapacity planning, guardianships, and conservatorships.

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