Avoid headaches and prevent fraud by writing out the full year on all checks and documents

2020 written out in blocks

It's a New Year.

Whether you are ready for it or not, 2020 is here. And it brings with it all sorts of opportunities to embrace change and perhaps even a little self-improvement. Of all the goals you can set for yourself, here’s a quick, practical and simple one. Start writing out all four digits of the year on all your legal documents, checks, etc.

Why is this important to do, you may ask?

Potential Risks

Some consumer advocates have suggested that those with ill-intent could manipulate signed documents to make it appear you’ve signed an agreement earlier (or later) than the actual year, which, for example, could be abused in a rental contract. Additionally, someone could make a stale-dated check appear valid again by merely adding a new year onto the end, which might allow for a check to be withdrawn from your account when you are not expecting it and may not have the funds to cover it.

Implement Best Practices

Woman writing date on check

Certainly, only using the number 20 to represent this year provides some potential for misuse, but really, it’s just a best practice and phenomenally easy to write out the entire year. Utilizing the full four-digit year reduces the potential for misunderstanding or for fraud to occur. While you’re at it, you should also be writing out the month and day in 2-digit format as well. 1 / 2 / 2020 could be changed to 11/22/2020. Writing out 01/02/2020 reduces the chance that would occur. You could also spell out the month, such as January 03, 2020, which is more common on checks. Most people are already writing out the date in full, and digital systems tend to enforce it, but there are still some holdouts when it comes to writing it out by hand, such as when filling out checks or signing legal documents.

If you’re resistant to the idea of writing it out, perhaps a better question to ask yourself is, “Why not use 4 digits for the year?” The year 20 is here… 2020, that is, and this is the year to start writing those 2 extra digits.




Need a reason to choose Sharonview?
you decide
Everything we do is geared toward helping you improve your financial standing, all while treating you the way you deserve. Experience the Sharonview difference.