You may think of forgery as the copying or reproduction of literary or artistic works and passing them off as originals. According to FindLaw, this is forgery on a grand scale and generally makes big headlines once discovered. However, the more common incidences of forgery are much more mundane. Opportunities to commit forgery on university campuses are plentiful, but if found out, the penalties can be severe. 

If you live in a residence hall or in an apartment off campus with one or more roommates, it may be difficult, if not impossible, for you and your roommates to secure your possessions, even those of a personal or financial nature. Forging a signature to a check is one of the most common forms that the offense may take, and roommate situations may present the potential forger with ample opportunity.

Academic paperwork often requires the signature of a professor, and a forger may attempt to sign a faculty or staff member’s name in order to add or drop a class, obtain a special privilege or even falsely claim to have earned a degree without completing the coursework by forging a diploma. Identification cards, including student IDs, may also become the object of forgery. 

If you make a copy of an original work without intent to deceive, it is not a forgery. For example, you may paint a picture that copies a famous work of art, and as long as you are honest in presenting it as a reproduction and not an original work, it is not a forgery. In order to secure a conviction against you, the prosecution would have to prove that your intent in painting the picture was to deceive or defraud. 

Counterfeiting is similar to forgery, although the term usually refers specifically to the copying of consumer goods or currency for fraudulent purposes. 

The information in this article is not intended as legal advice but provided for educational purposes only.