It's easy for people to get caught up in their own narrative
and forget that not everything they see or hear is true. We can unintentionally
embellish our own stories to make ourselves look better or even feel better
about the truth. It is this myth that any person is incapable of lying, which
is why people are becoming more and more inclined towards authenticating
documents, especially those including a signature, hallmarks, or stamps
indicating authenticity. Here are the tell-tale signs of an unauthentic
One huge factor that can help determine a document's
authenticity is the wording. This may be obvious to some; if you are to
counterfeit a document, signature, or stamp, you have to make sure that it
reads exactly like the original. When reviewing a forgery, you may find that
the wording will be slightly altered, oftentimes done so to close loopholes.
This should easily be spotted by someone who is familiar with the original
document, but unfortunately, not all documents are reviewed with such
2. Formatting and Style
Many official documents are limited to a certain format and
style.If you have an authentic document, you may determine that it is not real by looking for formatting errors. For example, if you find that there there
are anomalies in the way lines are spaced or sections are organized, this
should raise questions. An authentic document is usually organized in a clear,
easy-to-follow format and follows standards for the time and place it was
The format in which a document is laid out and the fonts
used can be an indication of its authenticity. If you notice slight differences
in how a page is set up or certain typesetting elements appear to be missing
from it, chances are that it is not authentic. Usually, even documents that
have been photocopied or scanned will retain the original layout, but if you
have an electronic copy of a paper document, this cannot be guaranteed.
Another tell-tale sign to look out for in an unauthentic
document is the detail within it. Details such as names, dates, and personal
info should obviously be accurate, but some forgers aren't so keen. For
example, birth certificates include a plethora of personal information that can
easily be checked for accuracy. If the birth certificate indicates the birth
year of 1975, instead of the true birth year of 1974, you may suspect that the
document is fake. Although this is a simple example, all documents contain a
wide scope of small details such as this so it's important to double-check everything.
5. Omitted Details
Omitted details might be an obvious giveaway because most
documents are written to be highly detailed and thorough. Detail omission can
also be the very reason a document is forged in the first place as one may take
to forgery to keep certain details off record. If you have a counterfeit bill
or spreadsheet, consider how much information has been left out and whether it
makes sense to have those details missing.
The font used in an authentic document is usually unique, whereas the fonts selected for a counterfeit document tend to be more generic. This is likely due to the fact that the creator of the forgery doesn't have the time or resources to replicate unique fonts. So instead of matching the original document exactly, they will use generic fonts as a shortcut. Counterfeiters make this very common mistake and something you will see in many unauthentic documents.
Similar to font, signatures are often utilized on official documents and are always unique yet consistent to the individual. Signatures are one of the most common items to be forged on legal documents. Forgers will go to great lengths to match a person's unique signature, a forensic document examiner may be enlisted to help verify its authenticity. A forged signature can look nearly identical to the layman, but professional examiners will look for fine details such as pen pressure, pen lifts, and signs of retouching.
As you can see, there are many ways to determine whether a
document is authentic or not. A lot of these indicators will be obvious, but
unless a document is reviewed thoroughly, they can easily be missed. If you're
ever unsure about a document's authenticity, it's worth asking for professional
help. The cost of having a document examined professionally comes at a cost,
but if something in it affects your life drastically, it is worth every penny.