Age Determination of Ink

Ink is a colored liquid that is used to write or draw on paper. The inks can be in aqueous, powder, or paste form. Inks were first discovered by the Egyptians who used to write and draw things. Another big contribution to ink discoveries and development was the Chinese. In fact, Indian ink was invented in China.  Components of Ink Ink is basically a mixture of various components that have their individual functions. The basic components of the ink are: 1. Pigments   Pigments are the ones that give color to every ink. The pigments can be made up of either organic or inorganic compounds. It is the main component of the ink. 2. Dispersants  Dispersants are used as surfactants and polymers in the ink. 3. Resins or Polymers     Resins and polymers are helpful in improving the binding of the components in ink. 4. Humectants   Humectants are the components that help […]

Age Determination of Paper

Paper is one of the pieces of evidence encountered in a criminal case including murder, forgery, fraud, or suicide since it is one of the common writing surfaces for any person. Therefore, its examination is important to provide accurate data after analysis. Paper is a thin sheet made from wood pulp or other lignocellulosic materials such as cotton, rice, or wheat straw for writing, printing, and packaging purposes. It is believed that it was originated in China in the 2nd century as an alternative writing material to silk. Almost 200 years of its mechanized production resulted in significant changes in information networking all over the world. Steps of Paper Manufacturing 1. Pulping The wood is cut into small wood chips which are mixed with water and finely ground to form a pulp. This step helps in cleaning and separating fibers of wood. 2. Bleaching The raw pulp contains an appreciable […]

Questioned Documents: An Important Evidence in Criminal Investigation

Questioned documents are defined as any document whose origin or source comes into question in the course of the investigation. Questioned document examination is one of the integral parts of forensic examination where scientific pattern-based comparisons of the documents are conducted. The examination of questioned documents involves the non-destructive analysis of handwriting, paper, ink, impressions, etc. Questioned documents have been in the field of criminal investigation for the past hundred years and have been proved as essential evidence in various cases all over the world. The number of cases where questioned document examination played a crucial role is quite vast and beyond this article. Therefore, the top 5 most famous cases of Questioned Documents of the United States of America (USA) have been discussed in this context. Top 5 Questioned Documents Cases of United States 1. Howland Will Forgery Trial It was the famous case of 1868 tried in US […]

Difference Between Forgery and Counterfeiting

Although both forgery and counterfeiting may sound similar as both are done with the intent of deceiving, there is a difference between both. The difference between forgery and counterfeiting is that forgery is difficult to sometimes spot with naked eyes, while counterfeits can sometimes be detected physically. Forgery deals with the unlawful altering of the genuine document, whereas counterfeiting deals with making false money, securities, and sometimes consumer products. Forgery is a crime, while counterfeiting is criminal intent. This article further discusses in detail the various difference between forgery and counterfeiting.  What are Forgery and Counterfeiting?? Forgery deals with the process of drawing, making, or altering a document with an intent to defraud a person or an organization. It is a white-collar crime. Copies, studio replicas, and reproductions are not considered forgery but may be concluded as a forgery if done with a willful misinterpretation. However, counterfeiting is also the forging […]

Secret Writing Inks and their Decipherment Techniques

When a spy or any agent has to send any secret message, they transfer it through written text to conceal their writings. Some precise methods are used to hide the written text, i.e., secret inks. It can be deciphered using specific techniques. In the upcoming sections of this article, we will study secret writing, techniques involved in secret writing, and methods to decipher it.     Secret writing is a way to communicate through writing by hiding the written text, by encoding or deciphering. It is an art to hide or cover writing. Sometimes Ciphers and Codes are placed mistakenly under the “secret writing” heading. However, it is precise only by taking the expression in its most ordinary sense because the writing is covered in any way. Ciphers and codes hide the definite message. Techniques involved in writing secret texts are carbon copies and invisible ink. This way of sending a […]

Reliability and Validity of Questioned Document in Court

When a question arises on the identity of writing a document or its genuineness, the expert will need to compare it with other documents of known origin. Such documents are called standards. These standards provide the reliability and validity of the questioned documents. In this article, we will study how to make a questioned document reliable and valid in court. The standards can be obtained in two ways Request standards– These are obtained at the request of the investigator. Non-Request standards– These are obtained without the knowledge of the author. To be admissible in the court as reliable and valid evidence, the standards must be taken as a genuine ones. For that, the specimen must be taken in the presence of an expert, independent witness or by videography. Sidewise, we will also study the factors necessary to maintain the genuineness of the standards taken by the suspect to maintain the […]

Characteristics of Genuine & Forged Signatures

In the era of the developing world, there has been a lot of development in the ways of money transfer. People usually prefer documents over cash to prevent counterfeiting. But this way of money transfer is not secured as well. Forgers generally forge the signatures on cheques or documents. In this article, we will study the characteristics of genuine and forged signatures to prevent ourselves from any kind of loss. When any person forges a signature, until and unless we observe it carefully, it is difficult to distinguish that between a genuine and forged signature. The characteristics we need to keep in our mind to identify the reality of signature are line quality, pen pressure, pen lifts, speed, letter size, indentation marks, flourishes and embellishments, and natural variations. We will study each of them in the upcoming section. In addition to this, we will also look into the type of […]

Common Characteristics of Disguised Handwriting

When a person tries to change his handwriting, he attempts to produce a concord that they are unfamiliar with. He might do this because he doesn’t want to recognise being the writer of a questioned document. This article will know the common characteristics of disguised handwriting when an individual tries to disguise his Writing.   The handwriting of an individual consists of unique characters that give handwriting individuality. To hide them, a person tries to write differently, i.e. he tries to disguise his handwriting by increasing or decreasing the size of the letters, writing fast or slow, exaggerating the slant of the Writing, unnecessary embellishments or flourishes, etc. We will study each characteristic one by one. Along with the study of the common characteristics of disguised handwriting, we will tell you the circumstances or the purposes where one tries to disguise his handwriting. Characteristics of Disguised Handwriting Letter Size– When a […]

Methods for Ink Analysis & Paper Analysis

When visiting a crime scene, if the investigator finds a document as evidence, he will carefully collect and preserve the document. He will send it to the laboratory for its paper and ink analysis through a maintained chain of custody. This article will learn about the methods used for paper analysis and ink analysis. Paper analysis and ink analysis of the document helps us to find out the estimated age of writing. This allows us to lead the investigation of a criminal case in the right direction. Several methods for ink analysis are UV-Visible spectroscopy, infrared spectroscopy, chromatography, neutron activation analysis, and visual spectral comparator. Examination of paper is done by visualization, chemical test, sizing agents, special paper micrometre, etc. We’ll study them in further sections. Along with the topics discussed above, we’ll also study the age of writing, which uses the paper and ink examination method for determining its […]

Erasures: Detection of Alterations / Erasures in a Document

An erasure is a type of document alteration used by forgers to change the document’s meaning for any extraneous gains or profits. The forger erases any part of the document by any means. In this article, we’ll know the ways of creating erasures and the ways of its detection. The erasures are primarily carried out chemically or mechanically, which can be detected by several techniques like oblique lighting, microscope, fuming method, heating of the document, ultraviolet rays, Infrared luminescence, etc. These techniques help us detect the erasures and easily read out the erased text of the altered document. Along with the topics discussed above, we will also discuss the different ways of document alteration by a forger, such as obliterations, alteration by addition, alteration by substitution, and the ways to detect them. Evaluation of Erasures The standard way to alter any document is carried out by erasing a partial part […]

Forensic Questioned Document: Principles of Handwriting Identification

The handwriting identification is the most important branch of the questioned document. It may be necessary to identify signature or the handwriting in the document is genuine, traced, or disguised. However, before identifying the handwriting, you should know about its principles as well. In this article, we will be discussing the principles of Handwriting Identification. The three main principles of handwriting identification are:- No two skilled writers can exhibit identical handwriting even after giving them sufficient time and handwriting. Even the same individual cannot write identical handwriting. There is some presence of variations that occur naturally and is called “natural variation.” No writer can exceed their skills level. It means that we cannot expect a perfect form of handwriting even from a person who knows about the basics skills of handwriting. Along with the principles of handwriting, we will also cover a detailed version about natural variations to ease the […]

Class & Individual Handwriting Characteristics

Handwriting is also known as Brainwriting. It is a neuro-muscular task. When the brain and spinal cord coordinates perfectly with the muscles and bones of our hand, a particular letter is written. If any of them does not coordinate perfectly, we can observe tremors in the strokes. This makes the line quality poor. Handwriting is an art that is learned at an early stage of life.  Class Characteristics of Handwriting Overall Form– It includes the general observed characteristics of the Handwriting, i.e., shape, slant, strokes, and size of the letters. The slant of the letters can be to the right, to the left, straight, or mixed slant. The strokes can be continuous, discontinuous, or no strokes at all. The shape of the letters can be deformed, perfect, or a mix of both. The size of letters can be big, small, or a mix of both. Line Features– It includes the speed […]

Questioned Documents: Nature of Questioned Documents

Many of us write letters, applications, findings, reports, judgments, and opinions. Cheques, Drafts with signatures are generally issued, forms, register, etc. All of them are necessary for individual, official, legal, business, or professional purpose. Certificates are issued by authorities to establish a date of birth and death, legal notes, driving license, etc. Therefore, a document is an object of paper, stone, wall, wooden piece, glass sheet, plastic, metal, leather, etc., which contains an inscription, writing, or any symbol conveying information to a person or a person about any incident or financial or legal transaction. What is a Questioned Document? Each and every activity in this modern era is concerned with documents. False documents are produced for committing crimes of deceiving frauds, criminal misconduct, or misappropriation. During any investigation of a civil dispute or a crime, the genuineness of the document is in question; these documents are called a Questioned Document. Therefore, one can […]

Decipherment/Examination of Charred Documents in Arson Investigation

Charred documents are the burnt documents that have turned black and fragile due to the application of excessive heat to the documents. The decipherment and handling of charred documents is one of the complex problems in questioned documents examination. Deciphering a burnt document has turned to be of great importance as they can reveal a lot of information in the ongoing investigation. This process is also one of the most difficult one due to the sample’s fragile nature. If handling and separation is not done properly, the sample can be of zero value. Methods to decipher Charred documents The deciphering methods of Charred documents have been classified into two categories i.e., Photographic and Visual methods. Photographic Methods These methods require pure photographic techniques to reveal the content of the burnt documents. The different photography methods used in deciphering are: I. Contact Process Davis of Bureau of Standards conducted various experiments […]