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Forgery: 4 Strategies Used to Replicate a Signature

Posted on December 4, 2013 by Mintzer Law

Forgery is usually part of a fraudulent scheme designed to steal money or property from an innocent victim. In its simplest form, forgery involves duplicating a person’s signature. This form of identity theft is rarely the work of a professional forger. Forged signatures are usually the work of individuals with rudimentary forgery skills who rely upon three common methods: simulation, tracing, cut and paste, and freehand. The method chosen normally depends on the equipment available to the forger.


The simulation method requires that the forger has an actual signature available from which to copy. Simulation is like drawing in that the forger attempts to “draw” the signature by copying the characteristics of the real signature.

Characteristics of the signature, such as the relative height of each of the letters of the signature and the spaces between them, must be carefully duplicated in order to create an accurate facsimile. This type of forgery is the most difficult and time consuming because it usually requires multiple attempts before a satisfactorily result is achieved.


All that is required for a forger to trace a duplicate of a signature onto a document is a clear copy of the real signature and a window. The forger places the signature against the window and lays the document being traced on top of it. The light coming through the window makes it easy to see the real signature and simply trace it onto the document.

Cut and Paste

This method begins with the cutting of a genuine signature from a document. The forger then pastes it onto the fraudulent document before copying it using high-resolution photocopier. Signatures created with black ink reproduce so well that detecting forgeries can be difficult. Some financial institutions and government agencies have resorted to requiring that documents be signed using colored inks instead of black.


A freehand signature is exactly what it sounds like. The forger, working without a sample of the genuine signature, merely signs the victim’s name on a document. Because the forger is working without an original from which to copy, no effort is made to create a signature that can pass anything other than a very cursory examination.

Forgery is a serious crime. If you have been accused of committing forgery, then you need legal help. Contact Rand Mintzer, Attorney at Law for legal guidance at 713-862-8880.