Are Fax Signatures Really Acceptable?
Signing documents and then sending them back to the sender via fax has become an acceptable practise in today’s modern age. However, it really should not be accepted because it is so easy to commit fraud this way. In fact, cutting and pasting a signature and then faxing it through is so easy anyone can do it. So, why are faxed signature accepted at all?
A professor by the name of Andrew Odlyzko researched this exact issue and found that while faxed signatures are generally accepted by practically all industries, strictly speaking, these signatures are no valid. There are still some instances where a faxed signature will not make the grade. For example, cheques for large sums of money and big purchases such as buying a house cannot be finalized with a faxed signature.
If you really think about it though, there are no major transactions that could be forged with a faxed signature alone. Banks will always confirm large or unusual payment amount from your bank account for example. Debit orders would also be confirmed.
Signatures have and always will be subject to fraud. That is how it has always been. Before fax machines, you could pay someone to forge someone else’s signature for you. This is why fraud has always been a big problem in society irrespective of whether it is done via fax machine or via online faxing. There are no new risks that people face because of the fact that faxed signatures are now being accepted.
Over time, businesses have refined their processes so that while signatures are required, there are other security measures in place that guard against fraudulent claims.
Fax machines are slowing being replaced by more modern communication methods such as fax to email and email services. While technology advances at high speed, security measures are still trying to catch up. For example, verification processes for digital signatures are still being perfected. There is always a chance that a faxed signature is not authentic and this is why recipients need to ensure that they verify it in any way they can instead of simply assuming that it is real.