New year brings opportunity for new scams

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MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. (WDVM) — The start of a new year brought a new opportunity for scammers to prey on consumers.

It’s something as simple as writing the date on a check or a contract, but local officials say it’s important to take an extra step to protect yourself.

Experts say leaving the last two digits off of the year 2020 opens the door for criminals and scammers to change the date on contracts, checks or legal documents.

For example, someone could add an 18 or 19 to the end of the date, and make it appear that something was signed or dated at another time.

It only takes an extra second or two, but local consumer protection experts say it could prevent you from encountering problems later on.

Eric Friedman, director of Montgomery County’s Office of Consumer Protection, says “scammers can use it to try and collect money by saying the contract was signed at a prior time, or take a check that has already been deposited and try and negotiate it, try and cash it again, things of that sort. Check forging is nothing new, check forging is an old game and this is just one new way they can do it.”

OCP urges anyone who believes they are a victim of fraud to contact their local consumer protection office and their local police department.

CORRECTION: This story has been changed to reflect that the director of Montgomery County’s Office of Consumer Protection’s name is Eric Friedman, not Eric Friedson.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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