This web site was copied prior to January 20, 2005. It is now a Federal record managed by the National Archives and Records Administration. External links, forms, and search boxes may not function within this collection. Learn more.   [hide]

Gold bar graphic FBI HOME PAGEFBI HEADQUARTERS & PROGRAMSHANDBOOK OF FORENSIC SERVICES

Gold bar graphic FORENSIC SCIENCE COMMUNICATIONSLABORATORY SERVICESFBI LABORATORY

FBI Laboratory seal

FBI Laboratory heading

Graphic for Questioned Documents Unit

The Questioned Documents Unit examines and compares data appearing on paper and other evidentiary materials. These surface data include handwriting, hand printing, typewriting, printing, erasures, alterations, and obliterations. Impressions in the surface of paper, such as those from indented writing or use of a check writer or dry seal, are also routinely evaluated by Unit examiners, as are shoeprint and tire tread impressions.

In addition to data contained on the surface of documentary evidence, data within paper or other surfaces— watermarks, safety fibers, and other integral features—may be components of document examinations. Unit examiners also match the torn or perforated edges of items such as paper, stamps, or matches.

Other Unit examinations include analyses of typewriter ribbons, photocopiers, facsimiles, graphic arts, and plastic bags. The Unit also maintains a number of databases—the Anonymous Letter File, the Bank Robbery Note File, the National Fraudulent Check File, the Watermark File, and the Shoeprint File.

For more information about documentary evidence or the Questioned Documents Unit, see the Questioned Document Examinations section of the Handbook of Forensic Services.

Back to the top

Back to the Index

 

Graphic showing traced handwriting


A traced signature and its model

Graphic showing a stamp edge comparison


A stamp perforation match

Graphic showing shredded documents


Paper shreds demonstrating different
optical properties under ambient and
specialized lighting

Graphic showing a document with different ink types


Inks of different intensities used
on the same document
   

Graphic link to FBI Home Page Graphic link to FBI Laboratory Graphic link to Handbook of Forensic Services
Graphic link to FBI Headquarters and Programs page Graphic link to Laboratory Services
Graphic link to Forensic Science Communications
Information revised October 2000