New Report Warns Against Abbreviating ‘2020’ When Signing Legal Documents

New Report Warns Against Abbreviating '2020' When Signing Legal Documents

  • New reports warn against abbreviating ‘2020’ when signing any legal documents or paperwork.
  • This is because someone could modify the ’20’ to become another year, turning into fraud.
  • A post on a police department’s Facebook details the cautionary warning and faces both praise and backlash.


We’ve reached a new year, 2020. A new report has surfaced warning the public to avoid abbreviating ‘2020’ when signing legal documents. If you sign a document as just ’20,’ someone could potentially modify it to be a different year. The East Millinocket Police Department in Maine was one of the first to post about it on their Facebook page to make others aware.

The post reads, “When signing and dating legal documents, do not use 20 as the year 2020. March 3rd, 2020 being written as 3/3/20 could be modified to 3/3/2017 or 3/3/2018. Protect yourself. Do not abbreviate 2020.”


Police warn against abbreviating 2020 when signing your legal documents

This is sound advice and should be considered when signing any legal or professional document. It could potentially save…

Posted by East Millinocket Police Department on Wednesday, January 1, 2020

The police department releases an additional statement as the first one receives some criticism and backlash. They say, “There seems to be a lot of criticism here for a simple cautionary post. Please understand that we handle scam and fraud calls on a regular basis so we try to provide our small community with tips to avoid potential problems. Of course we understand that all dates can be altered, however I believe that most here would agree that if a document of any kind, either legal or professional, is brought to our attention as being forged or fraudulent, it would likely raise far more red flags, depending on the circumstances, if it had a date of 1999 as opposed to 2019 or 2021.”

RELATED: The 1920s vs. The 2020s, A Walk Down Memory Lane To See How Much Things Have Changed


They continue, “Again, we shared this meme with a simple cautionary post, giving the citizens of our small community information to consider. Criminals are always looking for ways to take advantage of people. This meme provided a tip that we felt has some validity so this is why we shared it. It is not intended as legal advise or a warning, only as a cautionary tip to consider.”

The public lashes out with criticism

do not abbreviate 2020 when signing documens
Signing and abbreviating ‘2020’ on legal documents / CBS Boston

The comments of criticism include a comment from someone saying, “So don’t write 20 because it can be changed to 2018? But there was no worry about just using 19 last year when we could have changed that to anytime in the 1900’s (00-99). We literally had 100 options for the past year and yet we survived this police generated apocalypse. If this is the best that this PD could conjure up they need.”

Some others praise the department for putting out a cautionary post, just for people to be more mindful of signing their documents. One person says, “Thank you for sharing this information. The post is just a courtesy. Some people create drama just to be dramatic.”

dont abbreviate '2020' on legal documents
Abbreviating 2020 on a check / WNEP

Despite the ifs, ands, or buts, it’s always important to stay aware and mindful of legal documents in general. Share the news and stay protected!

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