Image of Digital Signature Pad With a Gray and Green Color

If you have ever rented a car, bought furniture, or dealt with a medical form online, you have probably signed your name electronically.

If every transaction required handwritten signatures to do business online or through email, it would take days or even weeks to transact business because of all of the paperwork being physically sent back and forth. With digital signatures, these transactions can be completed in a matter of minutes, rather than weeks.

Digital signatures can save parties a great deal of effort by avoiding the need to print documents in duplicates and get multiple people together in the same place at the same time. But, “no pen”, does not necessarily mean “no problems.” Schlanger Law Group consistently represents consumers whose signature has been used without consent. A New York City digital signature fraud lawyer can help you protect your identity after it has been used in an unlawful way.

What Do Consumers Need to Know About Digital Signatures?

Digital signatures are generally considered to be more secure than handwritten signatures, but they aren’t foolproof. Here are a few concerns regarding the use of digital signatures that consumers should be aware of:

Remember to Read What You are Signing

When consumers sign contracts electronically, whether online or through email, they often miss the fine print because they don’t take the time to read the document fully. What’s more, they might not request or receive a copy for their own records, so no way of knowing if the terms of the agreement were changed after they signed it.

In one extreme example, a company was reported to have sent its employees door-to-door with false crime statistics in order to convince homeowners to purchase the company’s home alarm system. When the homeowners decided to buy, they were then required to provide a digital signature via a handheld device that did not allow them to fully review the terms of the agreement they were signing.

In some cases, these homeowners were elderly or disabled individuals, who never received a copy of the agreement they had signed, because they didn’t have an email address nor a computer to access and review the agreement if it was sent at all.

Schlanger Law Group regularly represents consumers who are not given a fair opportunity (or sometimes, any opportunity at all) to review contracts they are asked to digitally sign. In our experience, this type of misconduct is particularly common in auto financing and “rent-to-own” sales. Proving fraud involving a digital pad signature can be especially tricky, but a local digital signature fraud representative is experienced in this area.

Is Forgery as Much of a Risk Digitally Compared to Traditional Signatures?

Forgery is a risk with digital signatures, as it is with traditional signatures. If a criminal gains access to your digital signature, they will be able to use it without your consent. Consumers have also filed complaints about businesses copying and pasting their digital signatures from one document to another without their consent.

Schlanger Law Group regularly represents consumers who have learned, after the fact, that the document they signed at the time of purchase or financing is not the contract “on file” with the lender, and that a digital signature obtained in connection with one document has been added to another without the consumer’s knowledge or consent.

Why is Malware Infecting Your Computer Dangerous?

People often keep copies of their digital signature on their smartphones or laptops. But, if that device gets infected by Malware or Spyware, everything on the device, including their digital signature and the key associated with it, can become accessible to criminals.

What’s more, electronic transactions move much faster than traditional paper transactions. So, once your digital signature has been compromised, the damage can happen almost immediately. A New York City digital signature fraud attorney could help you recover your losses after a criminal has stolen your information by infecting your devices.

Ways to Protect Yourself When Using a Digital Signature

  1. Use a digital signature program that has some security features, such as Sign by Adobe, ApproveMe, or DocuSign.
  2. Ensure that your digital signature is secured properly by using strong password protection and 2-factor authentication wherever possible.
  3. Always take the time to research a company in advance through online reviews, the Better Business Bureau, or the appropriate state licensing agency, before providing them with your digital signature.
  4. If you ever feel pressured to provide a digital signature right away, refuse to do so until you have fully read the contract or document that you are being asked to sign.
  5. Always get a copy of the contract or agreement you’ve signed for your own records.

Contact a New York City Digital Signature Fraud Attorney to Protect Your Privacy

If you have been a victim of a company that has used your signature without your knowledge or consent, call (212) 500-6114 or visit our contact page. Cases involving digital signature theft and other forms of identity theft are a huge part of our practice and an area of law where our seasoned litigators have a vast amount of knowledge, skill, and experience.

Schlanger Law Group LLP serves clients in New Jersey, New York, and throughout the United States with consumer protection, class action, credit reporting, and identity theft issues.