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Flashcards in Questioned Documents Deck (24)
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Questioned Document

An object that contains typewritten or handwritten information but whose authenticity has not yet been definitively proven. Authenticity must be demonstrated by a document examiner.



A person creates a document or alters an existing document in an attempt to deceive people



•No two individuals can produce identical writing
•Each writing sample from a given individual is itself unique
•Handwriting can be used as a means of identification of enough samples are provided
•Known writings (exemplars) should be as similar as possible to the questioned document


Children's handwriting

•Very similar
•Young children begin the development of handwriting skills be copying block letters
•Their handwriting has only class characteristics at this point


Development of handwriting

•Handwriting requires fine motor skills; as an individual develops these skills certain aspects become individualized
•Once a person reaches adulthood their handwriting basically stays the same
•A decline in motor skills as one becomes elderly can alter handwriting
•Use of drugs and medication can affect persons handwriting


3 Types of handwriting

1. Block capitals: uppercase I joined letters
2. Cursive: lowercase letters joined together within a word
3. Script: lowercase unjoined letters

•normal handwriting is a combinations of cursive and script writing


Comparison of handwriting

•examination is usually carried out using a low-power stereo microscope or magnifying glass
•reticle: eyepiece for a magnifying glass that contains a grid of fine lines to measure the slant, slope, spacing


2 types of exemplars for collection

1. Unrequited specimen: author had no idea it would be used for a comparison
2. Requested specimen: suspect is asked to produce a specimen

•should be created within 2 years of questioned document


How to lower risk of staged exemplars

1. Furnish suspect with pen and paper similar to those used to create QD
2. Never show suspect QD
3. Don't provide help with spelling, grammar etc
4. Dictate text that contains as many of the same words/phrases that are in QD
5. Dictate text 3 times


Methods of forging signatures

1. Freehand method
2. Trace-over method
3. Light-box method
4. Lifting


Freehand method

Practice making a persons signature until the forget can recreate it


Trace-over method

Trace over the authentic signatures so that an indentation is made in the document below


Light-box method

An authentic signature with a light box or window, trace it over using a pencil, and ink over the trace later



Lift an authentic signature created with erasable ink using frosted scotch tape



A forget may use chemical treatment to remove writing or black out an area to conceal original writing


Video spectral comparator (VSC)

Reveals security features using UV and IR illumination


Chemical analysis of ink

The most common chemical technique used to analyze ink is thin-layer chromatography (TLC)


Indented writing

Impression left by the pen on a second sheet of paper below the page that contained original writing


Electrostatic Detection Apparatus (ESDA)

Non-destructive technique that creates an invisible electrostatic image of indented writing which is visualized by the application of charge-sensitive toners


Screen printing

Stencil is placed on a nylon screen in which ink is forced through to transfer the image onto the surface


Letterpress printing

Design is raised from the surface and the ink is applied only to the raised area



Design is painted or drawn on aluminum plate with a greasy substance. A wet roller moistens the area and ink is applied; the coated area attracts the ink and the moist area repels; the plate is rolled by a contact cylinder. Then the image on the cylinder is transferred onto paper.



Design is raised from the surface and the ink is applied only to the raised area



•counterfeiting money is one of the oldest crimes in history
•$20 bill is most commonly counterfeited u.s banknote
•counterfeiting $50 and $100 are on the rise
• new bills have added security features