Cases of suspected forgery and document fraud create considerable stress for all concerned. As a certified forensic document examiner CFDE®, I apply internationally-recognised techniques to answer questions such as:

Is this signature authentic? Examining questioned signatures on disputed wills and contracts. Has the document been fraudulently altered? Document tampering: detecting page substitution, erasures, additions and alterations on sick notes, contracts and wills.

Who wrote it? Investigating anonymous handwriting, threatening mail, mischievous or malicious notes, graffiti etc. Why dont the numbers add up? Suspicious handwritten numbers on records and altered dates.

Dates & Numbers

Nowadays most numerical work is computerised. However, alterations to handwritten dates and numbers can still occur in cases of document fraud. HR, procurement, bookkeeping and accountancy departments may have to deal with altered numbers. Many types of documents can be involved, over and above the obvious ones such as invoices and receipts. Dates can be changed by the addition of a few strokes of the pen.

Disputed Wills

“This doesn’t look anything like Daddy’s signature!” It is bad enough to lose a loved one, let alone to discover a last will and testament that the heirs did not know even existed. Such a will might not actually have been signed by the testator and is therefore not a true reflection of the deceased’s wishes in regard to the distribution of the estate.

Document Tampering

Document tampering is the act of modifying the physical properties of a document after it has been signed and concluded by the parties. It may take the form of page substitution, erasure, date alteration or content insertion after the contractual date. Tampering leaves a paper trail of evidence that can be uncovered using special equipment and techniques. These include microscopic examination under ultraviolet or infrared lighting.

Handwriting Examination

Most written communication is sent via text or email these days. However, when the writer wishes to remain anonymous, handwritten letters and notes – sent via snail mail or hand-delivered, are often the preferred choice. Old fashioned handwriting, it is believed, lends itself to disguise and the concealment of identity and origin. I am able to provide an opinion on the most likely author (among a pool of suspects) of anonymous letters or threatening mail.

Handwriting Expert

When it comes to document fraud or potentially fraudulent contracts or wills, attorneys and advocates often require the services of a handwriting expert. Definition of ‘Handwriting Expert’: “One who is qualified to review handwriting or signatures for purposes of authentication and to verify authorship of documents and signatures.” Reed Hayes, CDE.

Questioned Signatures

Signatures are the result of a lifetime of habitual movement by the writer. They contain unique characteristics that individualise them. Even if two people have exactly the same name, their signatures will differ. No two people sign their names exactly alike. As a certified forensic document examiner CFDE® I apply internationally-recognised techniques to cases of signature verification. Advanced handwriting analysis involves the microscopic evaluation of subtle features of “movement memory”.