FIND OUT WHY: State and local officials say don’t abbreviate “2020” on legal documents


OUACHITA PARISH, LA (01/03/20)– 2020 is a new year, a new decade, and can offer new opportunities. However, the Louisiana Secretary of State and the Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s Office is warning citizens about a scam that could make 2020 a tough year for you.

“We look at protecting business and cybersecurity for our elections. We thought, well we should offer the citizens the same information for their own personal documents,” said Kyle Ardoin, Louisiana Secretary of State.

Officials are asking that people don’t abbreviate the year 2020 to just 20 on legal documents. This could allow a scammer to add a different number to the end, essentially backdating your document.

“For example, if you just put 1/1/20, someone could come back and put 17 behind it. So it’s like your document was predated,” said Ardoin.

Finding out this information has been mind-blowing for some locals and concerning for others.

“I guess it’s a little concerning knowing that you have to be concerned about every little, small, minor detail that you do every day,” said Ashley Harris, resident.

This is the first time a scammer wouldn’t have to completely change the date on a document. All they would have to do is add two digits.

“A lot of people, including myself, really didn’t think about it as the new year got close because it didn’t matter before,” said Glenn Springfield, Public Information Officer for The Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s office.

Locals say they are happy that officials are warning them because no one wants to be a victim.

“Everybody’s not on social media, so I don’t think everyone is aware of it. I think it helps to bring awareness so they aren’t victimized by falsifying documents and falsifying their information,” said Harris.

So whatever legal documents you sign this year, writing out those four digits could save you from a scam. The Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s Office says there are many ways to forge documents, but this allows no room of error on your part.

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