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. Prior to the high-tech banking methods of today, cheque raising was rife. In these cases, criminals would increase the amount of money on a cheque, by adding additional zeros or attempting to change the numbers themselves. But of course, they then faced the additional challenge of changing the wording! Alterations to numbers and dates can be a factor in many human resources cases as well as social grant fraud. Companies that still use manual tally sheets to record cash takings may be vulnerable to certain types of alterations in order to hide the theft of cash.

When examining handwritten numbers, answers to questions such as the following can be provided by a forensic document examiner:

  • Who wrote these numbers?
  • Have the numbers been altered?
  • Were the numbers written in one period, or on different dates at different times?
  • Was the alteration to the date made prior to signing and concluding the contract, or before?

Types of cases involving altered dates and numbers

  • Stock sheets – fictitious quantities entered to hide theft of merchandise.
  • Sick notes – alterations to the date.
  • Time sheets completed fraudulently – fictitious dates and times all entered onto the time sheet in one go.
  • Professional or semi-professional sports score cards – fictitious entries.