The 2020 scam warning of the year

February 5 2020
Simone Caron, IFPC

One of the viral fraud trends of 2020 hit the internet almost as soon as the clock struck 12 on the 1st of January. News sites, blog posts and business articles are warning people against abbreviating 2020 to ‘20’ on any official documents and cheques. It seems like a trivial mistake however multiple sources revealed the ease with which, even the most untried fraudster could change the date by simply adding consequent numbers. For example, 9/1/20 could be back-dated to 9/1/2019 by adding the 19 to the end.

There are a number of opportunities for fraudsters to take advantage of this mistake:

An old Cheque can be changed from 26/02/20 to 26/02/2021 - A trip to the bank and 5 minutes later the cash would be in the scammers account.

Lending money in itself poses as a risk which is why the lender would draw up an agreement stating the date on which borrower is to pay back the money in full. The borrower could simply change the date to 2021 and make it next year’s problem. On the other hand, the lender could be equally deceitful if you missed a month of payment and backdate the agreement to 2019 to claim more money.

Buying a preowned vehicle involves paperwork to certify the transfer of the vehicle ownership. However, the current owner of the vehicle might be sitting on a pile of fines he was due to pay 3 months ago. Once the transfer has been processed, the owner could easily back date the transfer of ownership, shifting the ownace onto the new owner to pay these fines.

These are only a few examples of opportunities for frausters, leaving you vulnerable. Take an extra few seconds - write out 2020 in FULL on any and all documents to cover yourself.