Many times, a simple erasure of words or markings does not completely serve the requirements of an expert forger. He may make further changes to a document by replacing obliterated words or numbers with other words or numbers. A good example of this is changing the amount of a check or altering the date on a contract or will. Whenever somebody makes erasures to handwriting before making changes, a forensic handwriting analyst can see the changes in the paper underneath and examine the new handwriting by making comparisons with the old for discrepancies in technique. Sometimes, the fake is so well done that a simple inspection is does not disclose any changes. It is fortunate that the handwriting analyst has other tools he can use to detect forgeries.
Under a microscope, subtle differences between the real and the fake, or forged, parts of the document may be evident. Minimal changes in the color of the ink, thickness of the lines, and pressure of the pen may become noticeable. If the expert forger used a ballpoint or fountain pen, distinctive markings from defects in either kind of pen tip may reveal something to the forensic handwriting analyst.
Overwriting refers to a type of forgery in which the forger does not obliterate anything on a document but rather adds to or overwrites a part of it. Perhaps a 4 may be overwritten to look like a 9 on a check. If the forger uses the same ink that was used to create the first document, it would be extremely difficult to uncover such kinds of changes. If the same kind of ink and/or pen is not available to the forger, he will have to improvise and use whatever is available at his disposal. By carefully inspecting the different types of ink, the forensic handwriting analyst may discover places in a document that may have been altered.
Even though two kinds of inks may look the same under normal light, they usually look different when exposed to ultraviolet (UV) or infrared (IR) light. Each kind of ink reacts differently when exposed to UV light. For instance, one type may fluoresce, or glow, and another kind may disappear from view. Infrared photography is another technique used to clearly discern the difference between two kinds of ink. If either of these lighting methods is not helpful, the forensic handwriting analyst may have to analyze the chemical composition of the inks to show that there really are two different inks.
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