As long as I can remember, I have been trained instinctively to write the date in xx/xx/xx format. For example, January 1, 2020 as 01/01/20.  It was not until one of my direct shippers alerted me to an issue with doing it this way, that I began to make a conscious effort to change all my dating to xx/xx/xxxx format for at least the rest of 2020.  What danger could come from something as simple as a few distinctive digits?  For starters, possibly things as serious as fraud and denial of payment!

One of the cases he alerted me to was one in which a customer could change the date themselves after-the-fact, to try and get out of paying an invoice.  Imagine if you will, a driver from a company signing for a load as picking up on one specific date, then the customer saying it never got picked up that date.  As evidenced the shipper would then present a doctored bill of lading for that shipment, in which they would change the date from something like 01/01/20 to something as simple as 01/01/2019, just by simply adding their own two digits as pictured below

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 Yes, this is a picture of the same signed bill of lading, with just 2 seconds of additional time spent to fraudulently change the date, reflecting the shipment as already being picked up a year earlier!

As you start to ponder what other situations in trucking this could lend trouble to, things as complex as sales contracts, invoices, bills of lading and even rate confrontations could easily fall into difficult situations just as easily as this.  Beyond just our industry this could be trouble in many sensitive situations and of course, leave it to scammers to always find a way to use things like this to their advantage!  Take careful consideration in how you write the date out for the remainder of this year, since next year would not be as easy to pass off in the same manner, only changing the year to the next century which would be far less believable.

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Jimmy Nevarez

Jimmy Nevarez is the Owner/President of Angus Transportation, Inc., based in Chino, California.  Jimmy pulls a 53' dry van hauling general dry freight for his own small fleet, operating on its own authority throughout all of Southern California and Southern Nevada.

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