Breaking News
More () »

VERIFY: Why you should write the year 2020 instead the shortened "20"

Online claims are insisting that you shouldn't use the abbreviated "20" to represent the year 2020. Is it really an opportunity for scammers?

How long will it take you to stop writing 2019 and start writing 2020 instead?

Every year there’s that adjustment period where you have to remind yourself that it’s not the previous year anymore.

According to these claims, there’s one more thing you should try and remember:
Never use “20” as a substitute or abbreviation of “2020.”


Should you always put 2020 instead of “20”? Are there really risks if you use the abbreviation of the year?


Yes. Fraudsters are wily, and will often come up with workarounds to steal your information no matter what steps you take, but writing “20” instead of 2020 offers them an easy door into defrauding you.

They can simply change that “20” to any year this decade and potentially use that information for nefarious purposes.


Just about any hand-written date is subject to this, but checks and legal documents might be particularly susceptible.

The basic idea here is that you write down a date, like January 1st, 2020.
If you abbreviated it to 1/1/20, it’s possible that someone could add two more numbers to the end to change the year.

Why does this matter? 

Certain documents could change and possibly harm people if the dates are changed. 

Think of a check for your bank as an example. 

If you wrote a check on February 1st, 2020 it should technically only be use-able for about six months.

The U.S. Uniform Commercial Code states that banks don’t have to honor a check after that period. 

So from February through August, 2020, that check is use-able. But what if you wrote a “20” instead of 2020?

Someone could, in theory, change that “20” to say “2021.” That would allow them to deposit the check again from February-August 2021 without giving the bank tellers anything to look out for.

Legal documents could have even more sinister outcomes. 

Imagine you signed a contract binding you to something from 2/1/20 through 4/1/20.

Someone could change those “20’s” to any other year this century and drastically change your agreement. Instead of working from February, 2020 trough April, 2020, it could show you agreed to work from February, 2005 through April, 2040.

Bottom Line:

This is good, if situational, advice. It really only applies to hand-written dates, but it could at least make it one step more difficult for fraudsters.

Keep in mind, In our digital age,  it’s increasingly easier to fake photos, videos and even documents. 

Someone can still digitally edit something to defraud you even if you wrote the full date. 

So while this is good advice to follow, it’s also probably a good idea to keep your own copies of important documents and checks. That way you have evidence to prove what really happened should someone try to alter one of your documents.

Something you’d like VERIFIED? Click here to submit your story or fill out the form below:

Before You Leave, Check This Out