Altered Document Detection


Figure 1
Figure 1  was prepared by illuminating the document with oblique or low incident light.   Paper fibers (arrow #1) have been disturbed by rubbing the region around the digit "2".  

Although difficult to see, two small black particles near arrow #2 remain embedded in the paper from the original typed character. 

Information can also be added to a document long after it was drafted or signed. Figure 2 (below) shows a check viewed under normal lighting. Figure 3, which was prepared using a special light source and optical filters, clearly shows the presence of two inks on the document.  The amount of the check was raised from $7.00 to $70.00 by adding the digit "0" and the letters "ty" with a different writing ink.

Figure 2

Figure 3
A document should also be considered suspect if it contains more than one type font, crowded writing, misaligned typing or irregular margins. The presence of these features strongly suggest information has been added to a document.
Staples used to hold multi-page documents together can be removed quite easily. However, holes left by these fastening devices are difficult to conceal.  Once a staple has been removed, complete pages can be removed, substituted or added to alter the contents of an otherwise legitimate document. Such alterations can be exposed by considering the registration and size of staple marks, the type(s) of paper used in the construction of the document or the nature and location of faint indented impressions transferred from one page to another.