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What are the Different Methods of Forgery Detection?

By S. Gardner
Updated: May 16, 2024

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.

MyLawQuestions is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By ukacharya — On Jan 12, 2014

My tenant prepared a will from my grandmother in the year 1998 and dated it for the year 1981. How can I scientifically prove that the document is not a genuine one and written at a later date?

By Esther11 — On Aug 12, 2011

I've always wondered how experts can determine whether an object is a forgery of an antique.

Sometimes, I watch the show, Antique's Roadshow on TV. I'm amazed how they can tell so quickly if an object is authentic.

I'm sure there are many ways to tell, considering all the different types of antiques there are.

Just by looking at an object, it seems an expert looks at nails and other fasteners, the type of fabric etc. But if examining isn't conclusive,

they have to do some analysis tests. I'm guessing these tests could help determine the age of the item.

By matthewc23 — On Aug 11, 2011

Forgery and counterfeiting is itself an art form. Over time different methods have been developed to determine the real deal and forgeries. Nowadays with digital technology it is getting harder and harder to determine counterfeits and forgeries with the naked eye. This is why they changed the look of US currency to help combat technological advances in counterfeiting and forgery.

By lovealot — On Aug 11, 2011

I think that people will try to make forged money currency as long as we use paper money. Some do a sloppy job of it and just take a chance that they can pass it off.

And then there are those who are real professional about it. With all the technology, a knowledgeable and talented person can make paper money that is hard to detect. The paper that the government uses to make currency is made from paper and fabric. But I'll bet someone is working on duplicating it at this very minute!

The government has made changes in the making of bills to prevent or make it harder to duplicate them.

But it is kind of a battle of wills. The forgers discover ways to outwit the government, especially with improved technology. And then the government changes the bills adding raised parts and imbedded parts and watermarks.

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