Don’t abbreviate 2020 on checks, documents

Updated: Jan. 6, 2020 at 11:12 PM CST
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WICHITA FALLS, Texas (TNN) - When you go to write a check or sign a document you need to make sure you're writing out the whole year. If you don't, it leaves an open door for someone else to change the date.

“If you leave a 20 they could always go back and change that document and they don't have to make that physical change on it they just add 2 numbers to it,” Brad Altman, partner with Altman Legal said.

Altman gave another example too of someone taking out a loan that is a few months behind on payments.

“That lender could actually very easily write in 19 after the 20 and now they’re going to sit there and say look it’s 2019, you’re now a year late not just a couple months,” Altman said.

Banks and credit unions in Wichita Falls understand this threat too and are prepared.

Fraud specialist Joey Fino explains they are on the lookout for anyone tampering with the number.

“Most of the time you can tell when somebody’s changing the date on there, it looks a little different. The handwriting can look a little different from what the original handwriting is,” Fino said.

Another attorney, Dustin Nimz of Nimz Law explained not making out checks correctly leaves you open to being defrauded.

“Anywhere there is a space on a check or a document that you can use to alter that document, that’s a potential for fraud,” Nimz said. “If they are doing that that’s a low-level felony offense but it’s still is a serious offense, and someone could go to prison for 2 years if they alter a check and pass it without someone’s permission.”

Everyone I spoke with explained the best way to stay protected is to go ahead and write out 2020, keep an eye on your bank statements, and always keep copies of contracts in a safe place.

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