A Simple Way to Keep Scammers at Bay In The New Year
Fraudsters Hope, You Do This When Writing Checks in 2020
Here’s a simple way to keep scammers at bay in the New Year: Stop abbreviating the number “2020” when filling in the year on a personal check.
Authorities say abbreviating the year — as “20” — opens the door for fraudsters to manipulate the check for nefarious purposes.
To see how this works, imagine filling out a check with the following date: 1/25/20. A crook can easily add a couple more numerals that will change the year on the check to a date in the past or future:
Ira Rheingold, the executive director of the National Association of Consumer Advocates, tells USA Today that a scammer might manipulate a check to look like it’s from a previous year in an effort to show that you owed an obligation earlier than you really did — and thus attempt to extract more money from you.
Or, a thief could hold a check with a “20” abbreviation on it, and manipulate the check at a later date — such as in 2021 — to make the check active at that time, Rheingold says.
The best way to nip these potential problems in the bud is simply to write out the full year — 2020 — whenever you write a check this year. For example January 25, 2020.
Don’t stop at checks, though. USA Today quotes the Facebook page of the East Millinocket Police Department in Maine, which states that writing out the full year “is very sound advice and should be considered when signing any legal or professional document.”
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