The difficult process of getting used to begins with each new year: implementing good resolutions, sporting away holiday pounds and writing a new year. But there could be another problem with the latter: Those who shorten the date on contracts, terminations and other documents – i.e. only write January 16, 20 instead of January 16, 2020 – run the risk of becoming victims of fraudsters.
This is pointed out by police authorities and consumer advocates. The reason for this is that criminals could add the abbreviated year by hand or in print. So actually the year 2020 was meant, but suddenly you can read a date from the past or the future. If you bought a more expensive product, such as a piece of furniture or a car, and agreed to pay in installments from February 1, 20, you are suddenly in arrears with twelve monthly installments if someone changes the year to 2019.
The annual figures are also critical when it comes to terminations, contradictions and ultimately everything that depends on deadlines: if contracts are backdated, they are considered to have expired long ago, and services no longer have to be rendered. Predated, fraudsters buy more time; In the case of rental contracts for apartments or commercial properties, for example, this could endanger the existence of those affected.
Always have a copy of the contract given
At the beginning of the month, the US consumer protection organization NACA first pointed out possible problems. Thereupon concerned people turned to German consumer centers, which reacted and warned together with police stations. The Brandenburg police, for example, points out the risk on their Facebook page and recommends: "For this reason, we also ask you to write out 2020 completely when signing documents or contracts."
So far, no fraud has been reported in the wrong year in this country. In general, fraud accounts for about 15 percent of crimes in Germany. Police crime statistics for 2018 show more than 840,000 fraud cases of all kinds. It caused damage of around 1.7 billion euros.
Julia Berger, legal adviser at the Bavarian Consumer Center, says: "If someone wants to cheat, there is always a risk that they will manipulate the contract." In general, consumers should therefore have a copy or copy of every contract they have concluded, says Berger. And it also applies: Those who have reservations with their contractual partner from the outset should perhaps fundamentally rethink their business.
. (tagsToTranslate) Consumption and Trade (t) Consumer Protection (t) Contracts (t) Economy (t) Süddeutsche Zeitung