A common complaint that I hear is “with everything being digital, nothing is personal.” In many ways that is true. Technology has given us the ability to make everything look perfect—even in its imperfection, it still looks perfect. It’s easy to copy, share, and distribute in many different formats all with a few clicks of the mouse.

I am noticing that the trend is returning to incorporate personal signatures into marketing materials. Nothing is more personalized than your own signature—it’s yours. It’s your interpretation of who you are therefore making it a piece of art. But that piece of art puts you at risk for identity theft!

It really isn’t that hard to copy someone’s signature. Remember when you were a kid and you had to get your parents signature on a test or something you didn’t want them to see. So what did you do? Either you forged it, or had a friend forge it for you. The same thing can and does happen when you include your signature in your marketing materials. If someone wants to, or if they have your account information (whether you know it or not), they can easily just start signing your name.

I was talking with a company the other week about their branding. In their newsletter that they send out the Executive Director writes a personal letter to their audience and it was signed with their actual signature. If you are going to include a signature in your materials, make sure it is different from your real signature. So different that if you ended up in court for something that the jury could easily see a difference between your real signature and your marketing signature. Another idea is to only use your first name or initials written in a way that is different from your actual signature. Or you could have someone else write it for you.

There are many ways to personalize a digitized world, but do it safely and do not put yourself at risk. No marketing campaign is worth it.