Document Examination

The forgery and alteration of documents has been a problem for people, businesses and governments for centuries. There have been famous cases over contested wills which may grant or deny millions to one party or the other. Forged documents have become integral to the relatively new crime of Identify Theft – forged passports or driving licenses – whilst the alteration of company documents such as signatures on a cheque have helped fuel large scale fraud schemes.

Whatever the reason, the need to prove or disprove whether someone signed a document, endorsed a photo or printed a certain letter is paramount. Fortunately, the science – and it is a science – of Document Examination has made rapid advancements over the past decade to spot these fakes or manipulations and bring their dishonest scheme to a jarring halt.

The most common requirements for a Document Examination is to confirm whether or not a signature is genuine, whether handwriting on a business document was made by the supposed author or was the document printed on a certain printer.

The most popular types of documents or handwriting that need to be examined are:

  • Business records [Purchase Orders or Board Meeting Notes]
  • Cheques
  • Threatening notes [Personal threats to cause harm]
  • Legal documents [Property transfers or contracts]
  • Passports
  • Wills
  • Anonymous correspondence [Tip-off notes to a business]
  • Medical notes

To conduct such a Document Examination, a document examiner would normally seek to identify as many copies on proven genuine signatures, writing or printing as possible and compare these with the questioned documents. By analyzing the inflections and patterns of the signature, it is possible to determine whether it is a copy, transfer or approximation.  Determining whether free flowing handwriting is genuine can be an easier task, assuming we have sufficient genuine texts to compare it with.

Each printer will develop its own peculiarities over time as it prints documents; the fonts will be slightly different for each letters and the spacing can vary between letters and words printed. A forensic examination of a printed document can identify the type of printer used and the origin of the ink – a comparison made between the suspect document and control documents printed off the possible machine can verify the provenance of a certain printed document.

We at Summit Investigations are also able to engage our own investigative experience to assist with the Document Examination; identifying possible samples and following up on leads that often help to confirm the identity of the true author.

Would you like to find out more about how we can assist you with Document Examination?

Please feel free to call us direct on now on 1300 608 530 to discuss your requirements or else send an email to our confidential address and we will contact you at your convenience. Summit Investigations operates Australia wide, from Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane across to Perth, as well as overseas.