1) Whenever you sign something, make sure you have a copy for your own files, before leaving the site. Established business should have either duplicate forms or a photocopier on site. If the company is refusing a copy, do not allow them to keep the original.
2) Keep your receipt. This is your documentation, both for purchases made and agreements entered. The IRS recommends copies of major receipts for 7-10 years.
3) Do not ever sign a blank sheet of paper. Anything could be written on it and your signature would be valid. This would hold up in court!
4) Do not do business when you are ill, under stress, or under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Any contract would be valid, even if you didn't agree with the terms when you finally are aware of them.
5) Make sure that all blanks are filled in, even if it is with a N/A (not applicable) notation. This ensures that information won't be added after you leave.
6) Keep samples of your writing through the years. Even though your writing changes, you develop certain styles that are your own as you mature and go through life. Keeping a sample each year provides a continuous documentation of those changes and has been known to foil forgerers, especially when it comes to wills.
7) Devise a signature that is completely your own. Remember that neater is better because it is actually harder to forge.
Here are some tips to create your own signature:
a) Write your name as if you were being marked for penmanship.
b) Write it again and again, changing it to your most comfortable style.
c) Vary a few things: size or angle of capitals, a flourish at the end of a stroke, a particular sequence of initials, punctuation, or spacing.
d) Establish a personal writing rhythm, pressure, and speed. Be comfortable with how you write.
e) Don't expect to be able to copy your own signature; just develop a unique style of writing your own name.