Should you really not abbreviate 2020 on legal documents?


SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – You may have seen this warning come across your social media feed:

Don’t abbreviate the year 2020 when signing legal documents

22News spoke with Attorney Joe Bernard, who said it’s good advice.

“Some unsavory characters can definitely manipulate time sensitive documents, whether its a lease, whether it’s a check, it could be a variety of different things for this to occur,” Bernard said. “And unfortunately what can happen is people can be left with financial difficulties or they could also be left with issues of identity problems.”

By abbreviating the year to just ’20,’ there’s a risk that it could be manipulated to read ‘2019,’2018,”2015,’ etc. 

Bernard said for example, if a landlord and a tenant were having issues, the date on the lease could be manipulated so that it appears it’s up before it actually is.

You may be thinking, wouldn’t this have been an issue with abbreviating 2019 as well? Yes, but Bernard said it’s more of a realistic risk this year.

“Last year, when you abbreviated it, it was ’19,’ but the manipulation probably wasn’t as practical because of the particular year of 1900s.”

Bernard told 22News that when signing any type of document always make a copy for yourself or take a photo on your cell phone.

If you fall victim to any type of date manipulation scam, Bernard says be sure to gather as much information as you can and call the police.

Related: Police: Do not abbreviate 2020 when signing, dating legal documents

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