(CBS Local) — Here’s something to add to your list of New Year’s resolutions: don’t abbreviate the year 2020 when signing financial and legal documents. Why? Experts say the date could be easily changed and used against you.
Usually, when we write the dates of the year, most of us will chop off the first two numbers and write, for example, 3/23/19.
But in the year 2020, the experts say everyone should write, for example, the date as 3/23/2020. That’s because if you write 3/23/20, anyone could easily add a couple of digits to make it look like another year in the past or a year in the future, for example, 3/23/2015 or 3/23/2022.
Writing the year 2020 in full “could possibly protect you and prevent legal issues on paperwork,” Hamilton County, Ohio, Auditor Dusty Rhodes tweeted on New Year’s Eve.
When writing the date in 2020, write the year in its entirety. It could possibly protect you and prevent legal issues on paperwork. Example: If you just write 1/1/20, one could easily change it to 1/1/2017 (for instance) and now your signature is on an incorrect document.
— Dusty Rhodes (@AuditorRhodes) December 31, 2019
This can be especially important for any document that’s notarized or for a rental agreement where the contract date matters.
Or if you write a check this year and someone changes the date to the future, they could cash it in years after you originally wrote it when you may not have the funds in your account.
The East Millinocket Police Department in Maine is so concerned about the potential for fraud, it shared the warning on Facebook.
“This is very sound advice and should be considered when signing any legal or professional document,” the police department wrote. “It could potentially save you some trouble down the road.