Electronic Sig Pads in a Dental Office: Can a Signature Be Forged?

Electronic Sig Pads: Can a Signature Be Forged?

Did you know that a Topaz signature pad does much more than just capture a signature?

Signature pads are becoming more and more common in dental practices, especially due to the Electronic Records Mandate that is soon to come.  I was posed with an interesting question today that I had never before thought to ask, “If a signature is combated, how would one determine whether an electronic signature is a forgery since it is simply an electronic representation of a person’s signature and not physically in ink on a piece of paper?”

Ever since America was established there have been people forging signatures and because of this there have been forensic document examiners analyzing these signatures to determine a forgery from a legit signature.  According to Mr William J. Flynn, B.S., D-ABFDE, forensic document examiners across the US have had to continually adapt their analysis techniques over the years due to new technology in ink pens.  Prior to the 1940’s the way one would write was via fountain pen or the good old Eagle feather, in 1945 the ball point pen was adapted as the writing instrument of choice.  The fountain pen provided very specific characteristics to a person’s signature such as a writing line with specific shading caused by the flexing of the fountain pens tip of which a ball point pen does not have and now in the 2000’s we face the advent of electronic signatures.

Topaz Systems Inc has been working with Mr William J. Flynn to produce signature pads that have the ability to record much more information about a person’s signature than simply the visual aspect.  Mr William J. Flynn, “the Topaz software [presents in a unique and patent pending way the segment timing, speed of signature data and] … the exact sequence of movements made by the author during the original signature execution.”

What this means is that the Topaz software is able to record all of these movements and time stamps, decipher, analyze, and generate a report for a forensic document examiner to use in determining the authenticity of a signature.  A forged signature is usually created by either tracing an existing signature or simply trying to re-create the signature by memory.  Either way, the characteristics of a forged signature is either “accurate and slow or fast but inaccurate”.  The Topaz software is able to record the time that it takes someone to write their signature which means that a side by side comparison of a legit signature and a forgery will be quick and simple because the signature will either appear visually correct but the time stamp slower or the time stamp will be correct but the signature will be completely visually inaccurate.

Of course the speed at which someone generates a signature is not the only charecteristic considered when analyzing possible forgeries.  Some other items include the accurate representation of the writing shapes, sizes, connecting strokes, and proportions of the original signature.  All of these things are recorded by a Topaz signature pad and is retrievable for a forensic examiner if the need ever arises.

To know that the Topaz signature pads are able to provide this type of security to a dental practice is very relieving.  I can suggest Topaz signature pads to all of my dentists with full confidence that they are protected from people providing false information in the form of a signature.


To read Mr William J. Flynn’s Excerpt on Forensic and Biometric Handwriting Analysis of Electronic Digitally Captured Signatures please visit the web page here.

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