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The different methods of forgery detection include examination, authentication and verification. Multiple methods of detection may be used to correctly identify a single forgery. More than one opinion on the results of detection methods also may be needed to confirm that a forgery has definitely occurred. Detection of forgery through examination, authentication and verification may be used to identify almost any type of forgery, including handwritten forgery, counterfeit forgery, digital forgery and art forgery.
Forgery detection by examination involves looking closely at an object to determine if it is valid. For example, to check an art piece for signs of forgery, an examiner may look for indications that the piece was not created in a specific time period. If a piece of supposedly antique art is in a new wood frame or machine-made nails were used in a supposedly aged frame, these signs of forgery may be detected through an examination.
Forgery detection by authentication will use tests to conclude if an item is real. Authentication must be carried out with a measurable test. For example, methods of authentication on suspected forged art may include carbon dating, X-ray diffraction and infrared analysis. Some methods of authentication are more reliable than others, and newly released authentication tests usually must be backed up with another reliable test until the new tests are proved reliable.
Forgery detection through verification involves obtaining confirmation and locating evidence to conclusively determine if forgery has occurred. Verification is often used to detect forged e-mails for job scams; the receiver of the e-mail may simply look up the information of the company or call a representative of the company to confirm whether the e-mail is real. A check can be verified by depositing the check in a bank and waiting for it to clear, and a signature may be verified if witnesses can swear or prove they were present when a document was signed.
With so many types of forgery used to create counterfeit art, money and financial documents, one suspected forgery may have to go through examination, authentication and verification before it can be reasonably identified as real or fake. In some instances, even after the suspected item has been completely reviewed, an argument about its authenticity can continue. As counterfeiters learn more and more advanced ways to create forgeries, the technology of forgery detection has had to advance, as well. The science of forgery detection continues to evolve with new methods of examination, authentication and verification.