Fake Fax Signatures

Bruce Schneier has a great post on the apparent insecurity of fax signatures. Bruce is right of course in his assertion that fax signatures can be easily forged, especially if you have a copy of your signature on your computer.

However, as Bruce points out, fax signatures are accepted because they are typically only one small part of a transaction and that there are other circumstances within a transaction that provide security that the fax signature is a valid binding signature.

I loved his observation that:

Signatures themselves are poorly defined. Sometimes a document is valid even if not signed: A person with both hands in a cast can still buy a house. Sometimes a document is invalid even if signed: The signer might be drunk, or have a gun pointed at his head. Or he might be a minor. Sometimes a valid signature isn’t enough; in the United States there is an entire infrastructure of “notary publics” who officially witness signed documents. When I started filing my tax returns electronically, I had to sign a document stating that I wouldn’t be signing my income tax documents. And banks don’t even bother verifying signatures on checks less than $30,000; it’s cheaper to deal with fraud after the fact than prevent it.

Check out the entire post. It’s a great read.

One thought on “Fake Fax Signatures

  1. Interesting stuff. I get asked about fax signatures by clients a lot. The truth is, the only people I ever see requiring ink signatures are banks. I’ve concluded seven figure contracts by fax many times and I’ve never seen anyone seriously challenge a signature because it was a fax or some other copy.

Comments are closed.