Several people have commented that scanning your signature is a bad idea because if someone got a hold of the file they could sign away everything you own. Obviously you should keep the file private. I wouldn’t recommend attaching it to each of your emails or putting it on a web page or anything like that, but it is probably no more risky than anything else you do on a regular basis.
Consider the following:
- If you ever write a check or sign a credit card receipt at a store, you are essentially handing a stranger a copy of your signature already. They could easily digitize it using the process I’ve just shown and use to sign things as you.
- Most of the time when you sign something, does anyone verify that it is indeed your signature? Most stores don’t even verify that your signature matches the back of a credit card. Someone could just as easily sign something as you using their own handwriting and it would probably slip through just fine. If you apply for a credit card, they aren’t verifying your signature against anything. If someone wants to get a credit card in your name, they aren’t going to need your signature to do it.
- Anything important is going to require more than just a signature. If you buy a house or something like that, they are going to require a notarized signature. That means that someone verified you are who you say before sign the document.
I’m not saying that someone getting your signature couldn’t prove to be inconvenient, but I can’t think of much someone could do that they couldn’t do already. Especially because most people’s signatures are widely distributed already and it wouldn’t take much effort to get a copy.
Regarding how closely most people verify signatures, I’m sure I won’t be the only person to think of the Credit Card Prank detailed on Zug a couple years ago. Link.
Mark Shead says
@Christine – I reread that after seeing your link. It was pretty amazing what he could get by with as a signature.
Here’s a tip I came across year ago for protecting your bank accounts, traveller’s cheques, etc. In the same way that you might have a common password for all your low-security/risk websites/accounts and a different one for you2 or 3 main high-security/risk websites/accounts, you can do the same with your signature.
Have one signature for daily use.
Have another, that is different, for signing when money is involved.
I know lots of people who when they send out email or direct mail they used a scanned signature.