We’re into a New Year. 2020. And, if you are apt to shorten the year to two digits when you sign paper contracts or manually type the date into your correspondence, abandon that practice immediately.

Here’s why.

Shortening the date to two digits can place you at risk of ne’er-do-wells altering or forging your documents. And that can put you at risk, both professionally and personally.

Some documents that you encounter often are ripe for the picking by these scoundrels. They include the following:

Why shortening 2020 to ‘20 endangers you

You might be wondering precisely how your shortening of the year can potentially cause you harm.

Here’s an example.
Let’s use the date of February 1, 2020.

Americans might want to shorten this to 02/01/20. And, if you do business in the EU or Latin American, you would see an abbreviation to 01/02/20. Either way, that 20 at the end is a significant liability. Do you see it yet?

From signing contracts to collecting credit card payments to writing checks, that loophole can spell disaster.

You see, a document with that shortened date is printed out, that year field can be altered–with almost zero effort–by someone who wants to change the year. All they must do is add a ‘19 or ‘18 or any other two digits from the past 20 years and voila! They can alter documents.

Worse yet is signing the date ‘20 on long, pre-printed in-person documents.

What can go wrong?

Here is an example of how abbreviating the date could have a devastating impact on your business.

Let’s say you are a small landscaping company. You carry three-part forms with you to new customers to sign them up for annual maintenance services, so you don’t miss out on any business when you’re on-site with customers.

You sign up a new client for one year of lawn care service, and you both sign the agreement on 01/01/20.

A few days later, your competitor quotes the same job, and his price is much lower. The client pulls a fast one on you and alters the date on her copy of the form to 2019–meaning the one-year contract is over and done.

When you learn of this alteration of the contract, you look for your original copy of the agreement. It’s somewhere in the stack of papers in the cab of your truck. Now. If only you could lay hands on it…

This picture is only one possible scenario. However, you leave yourself open for fraud if you shortened the date from 2020 to 20 on any legally binding paperwork that you sign this year.

What about online forms?

Undoubtedly, online forms offer better data security than their paper counterparts. Still, internet scams prevail, and you can’t take data security too seriously.

So, the same principle applies to online forms. While you will likely keep a copy of your forms in your EmailMeForm Data Manager, it becomes a headache to be challenged on the date issue. And, heaven forbid, what if you printed out a form from your Data Manager and then deleted it, thinking you no longer needed to retain the record?

Tighten up your data security and change your online forms to be consistent with the advice to use all four digits in the year, this year.

It only takes you a few clicks, and you’ll feel more secure.

How to change the date format to a four-digit year in your EmailMeForm

1 - Find the form in the Form Manager.

Click the selection in the form manager dashboard, and select “edit” so you can work with the form you need.

2 - Double click date field

You’ll land in the “Add Field” tab. Find the date cell, and double click it to go to Form Settings. In Form Settings, scroll down to the date format options. Select mm/dd/yyyy.

3 - Save the form

Click “Save form.” Now, you can go back to the data manager and find the next form that you might need to address.

Here is a video showing just how simple the process really is once you are in the “add field” section:

Raise the Bar Even Higher in 2020: The EmailMeForm Vault

Internet scams continue to spread like wildfire across cyberspace. You cannot be too careful about data security. From credit card fraud to phishing scams to data breaches, the costs to small and medium-sized business owners continue to escalate.

If 2020 is your year to take internet security to the next level, consider adding Vault to your arsenal.

Vault is a secure space where you can store your online credit card authorization forms away from hackers and scammers. You access it via multi-factor authentication, eliminating worry over hackers or data breaches.

If you collect payments, use credit card forms, or collect other personally identifiable information, this solution is PCI-certified, giving you the highest standard of security for an affordable price.

To avoid the pitfalls of fraud due to abbreviating this year, forego the two-digit year field on paper and online forms. And, layer in even more protection by adding Vault.

2020 form security cta

Author Deborah Tayloe

Deborah Tayloe

Deborah is a blogger and freelancer who often writes for EmailMeForm. When she’s not blogging, you’ll probably find Deborah working on DIY projects around her home in North Carolina.

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