Block on Trump's Asylum Ban Upheld by Supreme Court
Let's start with the main point: never sign something blank. Don't do it when asked, and don't do it for fun and leave it around.
When it comes to areas like employment, real estate, landlord-tenant, criminal charges, or contracts, having your signature on a paper that is easy to manipulate doesn't spell your name. It spells t-r-o-u-b-l-e.
Legally, no one can force you to sign anything. Adding your signature can take an otherwise insignificant document and turn it into a contract, so the choice is serious. Sometimes contracts are binding even without a signature.
It is legal:
It is not legal:
Maybe you accidentally sent private information to the wrong person, messed up a sales deal, or logged into your social accounts on a work computer. HR might set a meeting with you and then ask you to sign a blank paper to “resolve" the situation. These situations may also arise for undocumented immigrants if their bosses have unethical business practices.
"Blank paper" situations can also happen in casual settings if someone wants to make a sale or deal with you, such as taking “free" equipment or taking over a pet when someone moves.
Your boss or landlord might say something like, “Sign this now, and I will fill in the warning paragraph later" or “Sign this now, and I'll keep it on hand in case it happens again." These kinds of statements are a huge red flag.
If you are asked to sign a blank piece of paper, ask yourself:
Don't sign. If you feel you absolutely cannot avoid signing then do the following after signing:
You should probably keep the photo somewhere safe for years to come. A company or person could raise a conflict about the situation throughout the statute of limitations. This is two or more years in most states.
Keep in mind you haven't actually agreed to anything if you have already signed a blank paper. But you have given someone else the opportunity to do something illegal and (likely) try to blame you. Get ahead of the situation as soon as you can.
You can speak to an attorney proactively (often for free) and explain the situation. They can give you a feel for where the company or person who asked you to sign may be going with this.
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.