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April 22, 2019

Why Notaries should get up at 5am…

Filed under: Best Practices — Tags: , — admin @ 10:50 am

The age old saying that the early bird catches the worm is more and more true, especially in today’s cattle call Notary market. The texts have been coming from Snapdocs for a few years now. But, now Notaries are getting emails from title companies. Title is tired of calling people (perhaps due to bad phone etiquette — read our guide on etiquette to know what I am talking about) and emailing people. But, Carmen says that the emails are starting at 6am if the Title company is East coast.

Personally, I am tired of this East Coast West Coast rivalry which used to only be in hip hop, but now it’s in the Notary industry. But if you don’t answer your emails at 6am, say good bye to East Coast jobs.

Since 2008, 123notary has tracked people’s phone answering rate in the form of a percentage. However, now, it looks like how fast people answer emails will be the analytic of the future. The sad fact is that my emails typically get ignored. Hmmm. So, how can I find Notaries to give sweet discounts for upgrades if they are ignoring the few people who can help them.

So… you snooze you lose. Be a little more attentive to emails. Check them more often. Or get iPhone alerts for emails, especially if they are from Title companies. Additionally, my guru claims that people should rise before dawn and meditate right at the time when the sun is coming up. It is a state of equilibrium in the atmosphere during this mystical time.

On a final note, one of my most striking memories of 5am was in Darjeeling India. I went to see the sunrise at Mt. Kanchenzhonga (good luck pronouncing that mouthfull). I got up at 3:45, got in a van with some others, and saw the runrise. I remember waiting and waiting. Finally between two peaks a little dot of light inched itself up. Then it went up another inch. And then you could see the entire sun a minute or two later. There was great applause. And then we had mo-mo’s and noodle temtug soup which is a Himalayan favorite. Personally I think that part of the planet is sexist because they have the Himalayas, but not the Heralayas, but maybe with some idealogical counseling they will change their thinking.

In the mean time, check your email more often, and when someone says something and then says, “But, don’t lose sleep over it.” consider losing sleep if it means making your daily pay.

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December 22, 2018

Do you take control at a signing?

Filed under: Best Practices — admin @ 12:43 pm

Many Notaries just get kicked around in this business. They don’t bother to learn their technical information or document information. But, more important, they don’t know how to manage a signing. I just talked to someone in title. He doesn’t care if you are certified or know a lot. He wants someone who will make sure the signing gets finished and documents sent back fast.

So, if the Lender asks you to start the signing at page four, and the borrower doesn’t want to do this, how do you react? Most Notaries will be wishy washy and try to explain why they should start at page four. This invites a debate, insubordinance, and perhaps a no sign. Carmen’s advice is to just place page four in front of them. Have them read it and sign it. Keep the other docs on your side of the table under your control. If the signer protests, inform them that this is what you were asked to do. This is called following directions and maintaining control.

Getting the job done on time means confirming the signing thoroughly, introducing yourself, introducing the documents and staying in control in a polite way.

Some Notaries even dictate who is going to sit where. This can be for the Notary’s safety, or to facility the fast signing of documents especially if you have a husband and wife – they can sit next to each other on the long side of the table to do an assembly line signing of a long package and get it done in minutes.

Those Notaries who let the signing just happen will not do well in this industry. Learn to be polite and firm and take control — and get the job done.

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You might also like:

Following directions is more important than you think.
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19608

Following directions, what’s the big deal?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19600

Following directions in the 30 point course
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=14379

Elite Certification will benefit you for the rest of your life
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20770

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November 4, 2018

How much do signing companies lose by hiring bad signers?

Filed under: Best Practices — admin @ 11:56 am

Many signing companies out there are very short sighted. They only care about getting someone fast who will do the job cheap. Whether or not the signing agents knows anything about notary work, documents or handling situations is generally not considered. Signing companies want you to be “familiar” with the documents. People who are “familiar” cannot answer questions about documents with any intelligence. They have seen the documents before, but cannot explain them. 123notary certified Notaries understand the documents 80-95%. Those who are merely “familiar” might be able to answer 40% of my questions on a good day. The serious types of mistakes Notaries normally make have nothing to do with being “familiar” with the documents but are Notary mistakes or handling situations incorrectly.

Error rates & damages
So, the question is, how much do signing companies lose when they hire bad signing agents? When you hire new agents the mistake rate might be anywhere from 1% to 12% realistically. Those odds are not good. I calculate that there might be a cleanup cost of a few hundred dollars per average mistake depending on what the mistake is. So, the average cost of damages per signing hiring bad signers might be $25 or $40 perhaps.

Will you lose your best Title company client?
However the price goes up when you consider all the Title company clients who dump you because you goofed on their precious work. If a Title company offers you $30,000 per month in jobs and you lose them because you saved $15 by hiring a dummy you found on Snapdocs or somewhere else, you might lose $1,000,000 in revenues over the next few years. Does that seem like a good exchange to you? Gain $15 and lose a million? Those are the odds you are playing with. Your profit on the million might only be $50,000. So, gain $15 and lose $50,000. Get the point?

What are the average damages per signing?
If you average it out on a job by job basis and consider the cleanup costs as well as the losing your best title company clients that you ever had and ever will have costs and put those two costs together, it might realistically be $25 per signing, or perhaps more that you lose on average due to hiring lousy signing agents.

So, why not hire good signing agents?
123notary went to a lot of trouble to filter out bad Notaries from our site. We also retested all of the people who have our certification icon. Our certified members are not perfect but far less risky than the average Notary. In my estimation, a 123notary certified member is ten times safer than hiring some random text addict on Snapdocs. But, don’t base your decision on my arbitrary guess — track signings for yourself and see if our certified members really are better and how much better.

How much extra is it worth to you to hire someone more knowledgeable and safer? I personally would pay a minimum of $20 extra to hire a 123notary certified member and $30 extra for an elite signer. What do you think signing companies?

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Ken’s list of things Notaries goof or might goof on
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19427

Goofing on the RTC
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19612

Logic errors can cost you as a notary
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20110

Notary fined $385 for botching a notarization
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19941

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January 4, 2018

My best test questions are from Carmen, but…

Filed under: Best Practices — admin @ 12:28 pm

My best quiz question ideas come from Carmen. But, you have no idea how long the evolutionary trail is. She will give me an idea for what she thinks is a good question. I will ask it and then it will take three minutes for someone to not know how to answer it. So, I have to simplify the question so at least a handful of people might get the answer correct.

In some cases, I will take a question and create five versions of the question so that I get a version that at least 30% of the people I test can get it right. Having answerable questions matters, but also having questions people can answer in twenty seconds or less is important as I don’t have all day to wait.

Carmen’s favorite question was:
What is the difference between an Acknowledgment and a Jurat?

Unfortunately nobody could answer this. However, I broke it down into smaller questions. I asked which notary act can the signer sign prior to appearing before the Notary? The answer most people gave was none. However, an Acknowledgment does not need to be signed before the Notary. It needs to be acknowledged before the Notary. People don’t know this because they don’t have Notary school in their states. Then I asked which Notary act uses the verbiage subscribed and sworn.

Or I would ask which Notary act requires the signer to sign before the Notary. But, people would not know the answer was a Jurat. I would give them a choice of Acknowledgment, Jurat, Affirmation or Proof. Most people said Affirmation, but an affirmation does not require a signature. Dumb!

In any case, no matter how I ask the questions, the majority of Notaries have no clue what they are doing, but try explaining that fact to them — they just get mad. So, maybe I shouldn’t list fake Notaries. I am having standards now of 70% notary knowledge minimum which is a very low standard, but if I raise the bar above 50%, I lose half my notaries which is a disaster. Just do your best and study how to be a Notary. 123notary has a Notary Public 101 course and the NNA has the Notary Essentials course.

Notary Public 101 quiz questions
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19520

30 Point Quiz Jeopardy
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=14557

Notary aptitude test 2
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=17065

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January 1, 2018

Following directions is more important than you think

Filed under: Best Practices,Popular on Linked In — admin @ 3:55 am

We quiz people on all types of topics ranging from Notary questions, loan signing questions, to situational questions and following directions. The problem is that only 50% of our seasoned Notaries follow directions and the newer ones only about 25%. These are not good odds if you have something to lose.

People who use 123notary are often title companies or brokers who could lose thousands in commissions or fees if you goof on their loan. Knowing what you are doing (not claiming to know what you are doing but actually knowing) is part of the equation. But, following directions is the other part. Many Notaries just ignore what you say and do what they normally do rather than following directions.

I have two recent stories of brokers who lost large amounts of money because the Notary did not follow directions. One lost $5000 because the Notary did not show the pages in the order he was instructed to. The result was that by the time the signer got to the document that the broker needed signed to get a commission, he no longer wanted to sign. In another case, a broker lost $3500 because the Notary did not follow directions about something else.

Then there are the Notaries who don’t bother to learn how to fill out a certificate form. If you forget to initial a change, the entire loan might be ruined or put on hold. I get so many complaints of Notary mistakes that it isn’t funny. Then there are the Notaries who do not fill out the additional information on a loose acknowledgment, and then the acknowledgment gets attached to a different document. Next thing you know you could end up in court.

So, sloppy work, incorrect work, and not following directions can get you in big trouble fast. Not keeping a good journal could also get you in trouble, but the trouble might not come for years. But, errors on certificates will get you in trouble fast!

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The Chad question about following directions
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20009

Marcy overlooks the instructions in the 30 point course
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=14379

The green pen question revisited
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20146

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November 15, 2017

The way you treat Jeremy might be the same way you treat Title

Many Notaries think they can be stubborn and difficult with me during our interactions. The fact is that I assume that if you are rude to me, that you will also be rude to title companies. Then the Notaries say that because they are paying me, they have the right to be rude to me. What an attitude! These are the same people who think they have the right to claim to know what they are doing when they don’t.

Then I talked to Jen who confirmed my theory. She had many title clients and she said that if a Notary is rude to me, they will be rude to others too. I was thinking that since Notaries get paid by title they will start out polite. But, if anything goes wrong, that the rudeness will come out fast.

My spiritual master says that if someone is rude to one person, then they are just rude and will eventually be rude to everybody. I have no way of proving this true. But, I have seen behaviors of friends who were hostile to strangers. This hostility came to me too, but not right away. I had to wait six years to see that hostility come back to me, but it came loud and clear.

So, if you see red flags, don’t discount those flags. They are real, and the consequences of the behavior is real too.

123notary is a directory that caters to Escrow and Title. We need professional Notaries who take their job seriously. Otherwise, the end users will get a bad impress of me, and I can’t afford that. So, treat me professionally, otherwise I will assume you are unprofessional towards everyone sooner or later.

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Bad customers are a pain in the liver
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20005

Why are older notaries so argumentative?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19579

Do you talk back to people?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20003

Compilation of posts about Notary etiquette
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20505

What are Jeremy’s favorite blog entries?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=18837

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November 7, 2017

The grace period after your signing

Filed under: Best Practices,Popular on Linked In — admin @ 1:03 am

Most Notaries are only concerned with making a living. It makes sense. I was the same way. This is why Notaries should get paid more so that they can be more conscientious and less worried about making a living.

After you do a signing, you might be needed for what the Japanese call, “Afta-sahvice.” That is their way of saying After-Service. After you do a signing, you might get emails and phone calls if there is something wrong. The Lender might need a tracking number. They might want to know about the ID of the signer. What if your stamp didn’t come out clear enough or what if you botched a notarization or missed a signature. Maybe the recorder objected to your seal which was too light in the corner. Even the best of Notaries make mistakes from time to time. The point is not to be perfect, but to be available (kind of like being a foster parent.)

I asked many Notaries this question:

“If you do a signing and want to go camping after the signing, how many days (if any) after you drop the Fedex in the drop box should you wait before you go camping or out of town, etc?”

Here are the answers.

1. None
(My commentary) You are leaving the signing company high and dry, but they are probably only paying you $60, so they deserve it.

2. Until they get the package.
(My commentary) The Title company might not realize there is a problem until a day or two after they get the package. Additionally, Title companies are notorious for unstapling notarized documents and losing acknowledgment forms stapled on. So, after they get the package isn’t long enough if you want to be considerate.

3. A day
(My commentary) The Title cmpany might not even get the package after a day. If you missed the Fedex cut off, and Fedex is slow, it might be two or three days before Title gets your package.

4. Two days
(My commentary) The Title company might just have gotten your package after two days. They won’t know there’s a problem until they review your work and it might sit on the secretary’s desk for a while.

5. Seven days
(My commentary) Why seven days? If the Title company gets the package it will be processed and the loan will close and fund within three to six days. Seven makes no sense at all. The person who said seven days did poorly on other questions.

6. Three days or until the rescission period is over
(My commentary) This answer is much more intelligent and well reasoned. If there is a problem, the processor will probably find it before the end of the rescission period which might be three or four days depending on whether or not a Sunday or Federal holiday.

7. Indefinitely
(My commentary) What? You are the servant of a signing company forever for a dumb $60 signing. This is like self-induced slavery. You can’t possibly mean that. Illogical. That person who said indefiniately failed my test by getting other answers wrong.

The “Correct” Answer
It seems to me that if there is a problem that requires the Notary to go back to the signing, it would reveal itself within the period of day two to day five. If the package did not arrive, on day two someone might request a tracking number which you should text them upon completion in any case — but, they might lose the text or the text might not go to the recipient but to the signing company. If there is a problem with a notarization it might be discovered on day two, three, or four, but most likely on day three. If there is a problem with the county recorder, it might not be detected for five to ten business days. The best answer for time sensitivity would be three to five days. However, if you need to go camping, you cannot just not do any signings for three to five days because you have to make a living. So, just let everyone you work for know your schedule ahead of time and let them know that they are responsible for the risk they are taking in hiring you when you will not be around to clean up any messes.

Use at your own risk!

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Notary Public 101 Scenarios: The Frank Camping Trip Question
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20007

How to lose half your clients while on vacation!
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=596

Be your best at all times
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=21025

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October 20, 2017

Safe notarizing is like safe sex. Don’t have unprotected notarizations!

Filed under: Best Practices — admin @ 1:04 am

Can you imagine that Florida’s FAQ page forbids Notaries from requiring a journal thumbprint? The thumbprint is the one piece of evidence that can nail an identity thief and is the most compelling evidence to prove that the Notary is not in cahutz with the ring of identity thieves as well. You are protecting yourself as well as society. So, why would Florida want you to endanger everybody?

India does not require people to have seatbelts, but if you don’t use a seatbelt in India, you might end up going through a windshield onto the other side of the highway and end up with a skull fracture. The fact that India doesn’t require seatbelts doesn’t make it any more safe to go without using one.

A thumbprint is to notarizing what an airbag & seatbelt is to safe driving.
Proper identification practices like making sure the name on the document is provable based on the name on the identification document is just like wearing a seatbelt. For the most part, you don’t get into accidents. You will probably not be in a serious accident in your entire life. But, it is possible that you or a family member will be in a bad accident, and if you aren’t wearing your seat belt at that exact instant when the accident happens, you could end up dead. Not taking a journal thumbprint is like not having an airbag. If you notarize 10,000 people without incident and then customer 10,001 happens to be an identity thief, it is the thumbprint that will help the authorities catch him. If you don’t keep a thumbprint, you could end up named as a suspect in a law suit, be a witness in a long law suit and you don’t get paid for sitting in court, etc.

Heterosexual AIDS is rare in the USA, but exists.
When you have intercourse, if you sleep around, some people have diseases. You cannot know who is having an outbreak or who has a disease. People who are smart, either abstain from sleeping with people who they don’t have a serious relationship with, or use protection. It is rare in America that you would have the misfortune of having intercourse with someone hetersexual who is not an introvenous drug user who has AIDS, but it could happen in the heterosexual community. You might sleep with 10,000 heterosexuals and feel safe because nothing bad happened so far. But, with person 10,001, that person might have AIDS and give it to you. This is why you should keep a thumbprint, otherwise you might get the notarial equivalent of AIDS which is being a witness or suspect in a lengthy and expensive law suit regarding identity theft.

15% of full-time Notaries will end up in court
Identity theft is rampant, but as a full-time Notary, you only have a roughly 15% of ever appearing before a judge or being part of any serious investigation — and that is during your career and not during any particular career. Although I have met a few Notaries who have appeared before judges twice or been investigated three times. Maybe that is their karma.

Don’t have unprotected notarizations.
What you have to understand is that when you notarize someone, you are not just notarizing them. You are notarizing them, and anyone they’ve been notarized by, and anyone they’ve been notarized by has notarized, and so on and so on. If any of them are an identity thief, you could end up with AITS (the notarial equivalent of AIDS) which is acquired identity theft syndrome. The proper use of thumbprints reduces the risk of AITS to almost zero. So, use a thumbprint and be safe. Don’t have unprotected notarizations!

Safe notarizing! Because certain things weren’t meant to be shared!
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13 ways to get sued as a Notary
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October 14, 2017

Notice to Title Companies from 123notary about Thumbprinting

Filed under: Best Practices,Popular on Linked In — admin @ 12:56 am

Dear Title Companies,
It has come to our attention that many title companies are asking Notaries outside of California NOT to take journal thumbprints as it seems invasive or offends borrowers. However, we have had many incidents of identity fraud involving our Notaries as unwilling and unknowing accomplices. Here are some benefits of thumbprinting.

1. A journal thumbprint is often the only way for the FBI to be able to catch a Ponzi scheme practitioner, identity thief or fraud. Without the thumbprint, the investigators would be like a boat without a paddle. Why leave such critical members of society helpless when society is the one who ultimately pays the price?

2. Identity theft is not common at loan signings, but a few slip through the cracks and can cost lenders tens of thousands to clean up the mess. A journal thumbprint is often the only way you can find out the true identity of a signer who uses a falsified ID, or, one whose name is identical to someone else and impersonates that someone else and steals the equity in that someone else’s home.

3. A journal thumbprint safeguards the Notary from being named as a defendent in an identity theft case to a particular degree. If the Notary is concealing the true identity of a fraud, a prosecutor could claim that the Notary was a willing accomplice in an identity theft scheme and covered his tracks by not leaving thumb-tracks as the case may be. One of the Notaries listed with us went to jail for fraud which I assume was intentional. Let’s not have that happen to Notaries who are just plain negligent or too stupid to keep a thumbprint!

4. A journal thumbprint deters frauds. If you were a fraud, would you want some anal Notary fingerprinting you? No! That will come back to you in court. It would be safer to be notarized by some other Notary who doesn’t have such high requirements.

Basically, rather than forbidding or discouraging thumbprints, I am asking (pleading) with you to require thumbprints as that is the only way to safeguard your Lenders, Notaries and society at large from the heinous damages that result from identity fraud. I was a victim of identity fraud several times, the first time being really horrible. It is devastating, and I hope you do everything to prevent it rather than entice it.

Discouraging taking thumbprints is analogous to discouraging someone from wearing a seatbelt or discouraging someone from using a condom. The results can be ruin lives!

.

You might also like:

Comparing journal entries to Fedex signatures
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19375

Must a thumbprint accompany a notarized document?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=2289

10 risks to being a notary public
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19459

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May 18, 2017

10 ways Female Notaries can protect themselves

Filed under: Best Practices,Popular on Facebook (very),Popular Overall — admin @ 10:40 pm

Life as a signing agent is generally very safe. I was a signing agent for seven years without incident. The worst thing that happened to me was being barked at by a little dog whose owners were a bunch of jerks. But, in the history of 123notary.com, there have been some creepy and dangerous things that have happened.

A list of dangerous things that have happened to Notaries:

1. One Notary was pushed down a short flight of stairs by an angry borrower that didn’t like his rate.
2. Another Notary got locked in a house while a borrower was taking a shower.
3. One Notary did a signing for a guy who had a room full of mannequins.
4. On another occasion a signer said, “You will be all alone with me.”
5. One guy had was a hoarder and had no place to sit other than a disconnected toilet in the middle of the room.
6. One signer came out of the house with a gun — however, he was not after the Notary, he was after a pit bull running around the neighborhood.
7. There are borrowers with AK-47’s in their house and weapons of all sorts.
8. Additionally, there are homes that just aren’t safe to go into due to mice, hoarding, bacteria, etc.
9. One of our New York Notaries went to a tenement building in the South Bronx where low-lifes were hanging around and making inappropriate comments to the Notary.
10. Sometimes a signer will get to a signing in the middle of an ice-storm, hurricane, or other bad weather.
11. One signer was invited into a guy’s bedroom to see a picture.

So, as you can see, being a Notary can be hazardous to your health. One was physically injured, but, nobody has been killed. Only two Notaries we have heard of have been sued: one by the Massachusetts Bar Association for doing signings without being an Attorney. The other one got sued because the Lender screwed up and the borrower was suing everybody. The most common problem Notaries face is not getting paid by signing companies. So, research who you work for before you do anything!

So, how can lady Notaries protect themselves in this dangerous world we live in. Here are some ideas!

1. An escape route
When you enter someone’s house. Sit in a place where you have a view of the door and who is coming. Also sit in a place where you have an escape route where you cannot be cornered.

2. Text your address to your hubby
Let your significant other know where you are going to be. Text him/her the address and schedule so they can call the police if you don’t get out of there alive. Keeping in contact with the signing company can also be a way to protect yourself assuming you have a close relationship with their reps. If they are generally unresponsive, then they would not constitute a security feature!

3. No hood after dark
Know your territories and don’t go to bad areas at night. Taking precautions is the most effective form of self-defence!

4. Bad weather is a lot more likely to harm you than bad people. Think twice before going out in an ice storm, or in other really inclement weather as you could get stranded, or in a very dangerous crash. You need to know how to distinguish between unpleasant and dangerous weather.

5. Going to remote areas where you could get lost on long dirt roads or mile long dirt driveways at night is not a great idea. There are rarely street lights in these areas as well. Seasoned Notaries refuse to go to these types of places at night.

6. Learn self-defence.
Women need to know how to get out of choke holds, and how to defend themselves from people who grab them. Do you know how to stomp on someone’s foot who is holding you from behind? Do you know how to elbow someone hard? You probably will never need these skills, but what if you do?

7. Carry a taser.
If you want to temporarily disable a person without harming them too badly, a taser can be the way to go.

8. Carry mace.
You are much more in danger from dogs than from humans. But, in either case, if anyone messes with you, they get a face full of mace!

9. Distress button
Some people have a little button on their person that they can press for distress. This is more something that spies or military would use, but it might be possible to get one. The question is, who will hear the distress signal?

10. Carry a loaded gun.
You can keep it in your car or take it in with you to the signing. But, if you shoot someone, you’ll be in court for a very long time, face jail time, and be in huge trouble. So, think about whether it is worth it or not ahead of time. If you don’t know how to use a gun, you might get yourself in even more danger. Knowing how to shoot is half the battle. Knowing how to get your gun out of your bag or glove compartment before the bad guys get you is the bigger half.

You might also like:

Lady Notaries need to show caution
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=17469

I’d rather stop being a Notary than carry a gun
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=15896

Notary pushed off stairs by borrower
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=1097

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