Writing 2020 on Your Legal Documents

Guaranty Bank & Trust

January 13, 2020

You might have seen a post on social media or read a news article after the first of the year stating that you should avoid abbreviating the year 2020 on all legal documents. At Guaranty Bank, your financial safety is our priority, and we want to give you any information we have on the topic so that you can protect yourself in this new decade.

Be Careful Abbreviating 2020 to 20

When dating any legal documentation, simply writing out the date as you normally would (example 8/31/19), could leave you vulnerable to risk. If you happen to sign and date a document 1/10/20, it becomes very easy for someone with the same color of pen to add a few numbers to it (example: 1/10/2017). So, you see how abbreviating the date this year could leave you open to potential fraud.

What About Dating Checks? Does This Still Apply?

Yes. Even though a bank has a specific time period in which they can stop honoring checks written (normally six months after the written date), it could be easy for additional numbers to be added onto the end of the date. For example, if you write a check to someone and date it 4/5/20 they could deposit it into their account immediately using mobile deposit. A year later, maybe they run across the check, add a 21 to the end of it making the date read 4/5/2021 and take it to a bank branch where they can deposit it again!

Writing 2020 When You Date Anything You Sign is Good Practice

In the best-case scenario, you want to write 2020 in its entirety whenever you are signing anything. It’s hard to get into the practice of doing this since we’ve abbreviated the dates for so long, but it’s very necessary. We are working diligently to remind our customers daily to implement this practice.

If you have any questions about this, or other matters related to financial security, please contact your local bank and we’d be happy to assist.