When thieves forge a check, a loan application, or another document, they all use different strategies. Some just grab a pen and hope for the best. Others take their time and practice the signature for a while before trying to forge it. This leads to a wide variety of different types of forgeries.
To minimize the risk of check fraud at your financial institution, you need a solution that scans signatures to look for signs of forgeries. Here are the type of forgeries that may affect your financial institution:
An auto forgery is when someone pretends to forge their own signature so that they can contest the validity of the check or document. This is a type of friendly fraud. The same strategies that can help you detect between skilled forgeries and legitimate signatures can often help you tell when someone has signed their own name in a different manner or using their non-dominant hand.
A blind forgery doesn’t attempt to mimic the real signature. Typically, the thief doesn’t have access to the real signature. They just sign a check, credit card slip, or loan document and hope for the best. These are the easiest types of signatures to detect especially when you’re dealing with on-us checks.
Thieves use this strategy to alter signatures in digital or paper documents. They utilize Photoshop or other design programs to copy legitimate signatures and add them to documents. Spotting these types of forgeries requires advanced tools or forensic experts.
A free-hand simulation is when a thief draws someone’s signature. They study the shapes and lines in the signature, and then, they try to replicate them. An automated signature verification tool can spot this type of forgery more efficiently than a teller or bank employee.
Guided hand forgeries
This is when someone guides someone else’s hand to help them sign their own name. This isn’t necessarily a sign of fraud. Typically, guided forgeries happen when someone wants to sign a document but struggles to do so on their own due to age or health conditions. These types of signatures don’t look natural, and they often miss legitimate details.
If your system is regularly flagging a certain customers signature as forgeries but they let you know that they’re working with a relative or a health care provider to produce a guided signature, you may want to encourage them to place a power of attorney on their account rather than signing in this way.
This phrase refers to a free-hand simulation where the thief practices to emulate the target’s signature. However, practicing someone’s signature a few times produces a lot different result than when someone signs their own signature thousands of times during their lifetime.
Practiced forgeries often have the right shape, but they’re written more slowly. This is why it’s critical to use signature verification tools that look beyond static elements like the shape of the signature and analyze dynamic elements related to how the signature was written. For example, practiced simulations often use the same pressure throughout the signature. Real signatures, in contrast, vary their pressure at random points. This is a dynamic element of the signature.
This is another name for a blind forgery. It just means that the thief has presented a random signature instead of the real one. For example, this is the type of forgery that occurs when someone steals a box of checks from a stranger but has no signed checks to model their forgery on.
A simple forgery is the same as a blind or random forgery. When someone forges a check with no reference signature, the result is nothing close to the legitimate signature. This often affects financial institutions when a merchant accepts a forged check and deposits it in their account at your bank.
A skilled forgery uses free-hand simulation. The forger studies the target’s actual signature or even just a writing sample. They learn the shapes and strokes used in the victim’s real handwriting, and then, they emulate these elements when they copy the signature.
However, it’s generally impossible for the forger to suppress their own patterns. They tend to bring in elements of their own signatures, and as a result, the forgery loses the victim’s markers of authenticity.
In this case, the thief has access to the real signature, and they trace over it to produce a close facsimile of the original. These forgeries are harder for the naked eye to detect than a simple or blind forgery, but their telltale give is heavy lines and a lack of fluidity
Spotting forgeries is nearly impossible without extensive training and even highly experienced forensic analysts can’t necessarily spot skilled forgeries. To protect your bank from forgeries on checks or other documents, you need signature verification tools that can spot the differences between forgeries and real signatures.
At SQN Banking Systems, our signature verification tools scan transactions for signs of forgeries. Then, they display the potential forgery next to the reference signature so that your employee can easily review the issue. We also offer tools to help facilitate e-signature collection and storage as well as solutions to address a broad range of fraud and cyber risks. To learn more, contact us today.