It may not be Y2K again, but it is a new decade and there is a media buzz about the date change from 2019 to 2020. A number of articles and newscasts have been giving consumers this advice: Write out the full year, 2020, with all four digits when you sign and date legal docs of any kind, including personal checks.

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So what’s the worry about abbreviating the year, like we’ve always done? It’s the concern that abbreviating the last two digits makes it too easy for would-be scammers to alter the date on your check or doc and get away with it. Not so much a problem last year, when adding two digits onto ‘19 would have made the date read 1900 or 1910. But adding two digits onto ’20 gives you a more believable date, from the more recent past or even the future.

Are all these warnings mostly hype? Or, is it really more likely that a scammer could now steal a check – dated, say, 1/15/20 – and easily add two digits to make it read 1/15/2021, then cash it on that date next year?

Theoretically, of course, it’s possible. That’s why experts say this is not a bad security tip to be passing around.

But concern over date-altering fraud is not keeping the experts up at night, either. That’s because this particular type of fraud is not one of the more common types of consumer fraud that occurs. And there’s no reason to believe it will become more common in 2020 than it has been in the past.

The best way to keep your bank account(s) safe from fraudulent activity is to follow the basic, commonsense practices:

  • Never share your personal, account, or debit/credit card information with anyone, outside of transactions or business you authorize.
  • Arvest Bank will not call, text or email you asking you to confirm confidential information such as Social Security numbers, account numbers, login information, PIN or passwords.
  • Review your bank statements and account activity often. If you are unsure about something, reach out to Arvest immediately. Call us at (866) 952-9523, or come in to your nearest branch.