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October 8, 2018

A interesting take on ‘communicating’ with the signer…

Filed under: Carmen Towles — admin @ 11:36 am

In some states, in order to notarize a document in addition to a personal appearance and having current government issued ID you must also be able to communicate with the signer. This applies to us here in California and in addition, we are forbidden to use an interpreter/translator. Unfortunately for me, it has cost me several jobs because although I have a Spanish name, I do not speak a lick of Spanish. 🙁 This has been very disastrous to me. I live an a predominately Asian and Latino community and I estimate that it has cost me at least 30% of my business. I wish I had listened to my mother. She always told me to learn Spanish and learn to type. Of course I didn’t listen, lol. Alternatively, however, due to technology there may be a resolution to my (and others) dilemma when notarizing for a person who speaks another language.

I was speaking with a friend and notary colleague and this topic came up. In the conversation, he mentioned that there was another way, that may solve our problem and that he had been using it effectively. He told me that Google translate was great and that it works very well. And that it was a little different in its implication as compared to a live translator. I have an iPhone, so I immediately downloaded it and I can tell you it is fantastic. It is super easy to use and It translates all languages and as far as I can tell it is 100% accurate. To test it out, I asked in English; “Do you understand the document that you are signing”? Do you know that you are giving your daughter power of attorney over all your affairs? It then translated it into Spanish and speaks it out loud for both parties to hear and it will record their response (as well as yours) in writing. You can set it to have a back and forth conversation with a written record. You can understand them and they can understand you. I just LOVE this. It has the potential to solve a big problem for those of us that must be able to communicate with the signer.

Now what I am wondering, will the Secretary of State accept this method to satisfy the ‘communication requirement’? It is like using a translator, isn’t it? Personally though, I think it is a little different because I can personally ask the questions in English and It will translate in their language. With a translator they are asking all the questions and having a back and forth with the signer whereas if we don’t speak the language we have no idea whats been said other than what the translator relays back to us, which may be truthful or not. When using google translate, the notary can control everything and can have a back and forth conversation. All parties can read, hear and record the conversation, but the SOS will have the final say. As of writing this blog, I have not asked them but plan on calling them in the near future to find out their take on it. In the mean time, I was curious what some of you felt about this. Let me know in the comments section below.

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You might also like:

How do I get a foreign language document notarized?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=18788

Is it better to be “bilingual” or speak Spanish?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19264

Where can I find a Spanish speaking Notary?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=18824

Index of posts about documents
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20258

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September 15, 2018

Please answer your phones and check those emails..

Filed under: Carmen Towles — admin @ 11:34 am

I am sure most of you have heard the old adage,’You snooze you loose.’ I can tell you with this business (or any other business) it rings true.

As most of you know, I too am a notary/signing agent. I have advertising in many different places and in may different forms. There is 123notary, Notary Rotary and Notary Cafe just to name a few. However for the record, most of my loan, real estate transactions come from 123notary.com. But no matter where they originate, I can tell you from first hand experience that if you don’t pay close attention to your email, texts and phone messages you could be losing potential work which translates into lost revenue. And it could be allot of it.

Many years ago, for the most part Title, Escrow, Brokers, Realtors etc use to call you direct. And if you didn’t answer your phone you could be losing valuable clients (and of course money) to your competition. Most times, if they left a message and you didnt return the call back within a matter of minutes they would have found someone else. You see they would never stop calling, until they got a live body to accept their assignments. But, I have noticed a new trend here lately-they seem to email more frequently rather than call. I estimate a staggering 35-40% more. I believe that for them emailing has become more efficient and more convenient.

Sadly, I have lost 2 jobs with 2 title companies in the last week (as the writing of this blog) because I was way to slow to respond to the emails. By the time, I had gotten back to them they had, unfortunately, found someone else. I also had one text me the other day after she didn’t get a response to her email. So she had decided to text to get my attention. Thankfully, for me, she uses me on a regular basis so there was no immediate fear of me losing the assignment. But of course that will not always be the case, so I will need to be more diglient from this point on checking the emails more frequently. (and yes, I am notified with a chime on my phone but if I dont hear it or I am busy it doesn’t do me any good) I need to check them more frequently. And perhaps you do to…

Which brings me to another point. I have way to much junk/spam mail in my inbox. It is time to just use a dedicated email. One that is only dedicated to notary inquiries and/or requests for service. I truly believe that I am being distracted with way too many insignificant emails that I am missing the ones that I really need to be focused on and need to respond to in a timely fashion. It is clear that I am losing work! So if any of you find yourself in my position then it may just be time for a email cleanup. It is way to competitive and slow to miss ANY potential work.

You might also like:

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

Best virtual notary comedy posts updated to 2018
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=17693

How can new notaries survive without reviews?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20057

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September 14, 2018

Why you REALLY need to know your profession and have thick skin…..

Filed under: Carmen Towles — admin @ 11:33 am

When speaking with notaries, I tell them all the time that they need to have tough skin, and that they need to know their stuff (meaning your state notary laws). Here is a recent example of why it is so important.

A few days back, I got a call from a law firm in Canada. She stated that she had ONE document to be notarized. We discussed the assignment and she told me what she needed and we agreed on a fee. She immediately followed up at my request with a confirmation email in which she cc’d the signer and I was given the, time, place, conformation of my negotiated fee and contact information. I met the signer at her home. She produced a bundle of documents and laid them on the table. As I go through them, I notice right away that there was at least 20 additional documents that seemed to require an oath with notary signature and seal but oddly there are no signature lines for the signer. Red flags immediately go up. I let the signer know this is not customary and that we needed to call the attorney for further instructions.

We reached the attorney (surprisingly) and she said that there is only one signature to be notarized and the other jurats just require MY signature. I explain that this is not customary, and I just can’t ‘sign’ these. I ask her what would the purpose of me signing as they are just Jurat words stamped on the document with NO signature lines for the signer to sign at all. She goes on to tell me that I am signing that the signer has reviewed each of these documents and to their truthfulness. I tell her, I cannot accommodate her request as it is improper and illegal. I go on and further explain to her that a notaries only function is to verify identity and signature on a document and when required, administer an oath to the truthfulness of the document they (the signer) are signing. You can tell she is beginning to get very annoyed with me. After all she is the attorney (like that means anything to me) and tells me notaries do these all over the country with NO problem and I am the first to refuse (so now of course, I am the bad guy and trouble maker). I tell her that I can’t speak for any of the other notaries but if they are doing these it is illegal. I also tell her that if the Secretary of State was open (it was after 6) I could prove to her (and the signer) that this would be improper and illegal for me to do and I could loose my commission. It is obvious the attorney doesn’t care in the least and still insists and tries to connivence me to do as she requests.

At this point I am getting VERY angry. I know my job very well and I certainly don’t like to be talked down to or bullied. So, I turn to the signer and I say; “I am sorry, I am not trying to be difficult but I cannot do as the attorney requests, I will notarize the one document as agreed, you can pay me and I’ll be on my way. Then the attorney can find one of those many notaries she claims signs off on these with no problem.” The signer says no, “I want to get this over with. Can you make this work?, What do we have to do?.” I tell her, “You will need to write a little statement of your choice on each document that has the jurat wording (which I also have to cross out and use California compliant verbage), then sign, and I’ll give you the oath, then I can notarize each document”. But, I tell her it will be expensive and that each of these is 15.00. Long story short. I make a deal with her so it didn’t cost her too much more than we originally agreed, just to get through it. I also never wanted the signer to think I was trying to get allot more money out of her.

As you can see it was a hot mess. However, I got through it. But fellow notaries a word of caution; please learn your profession. Know your job; cold. Know what you can and cannot do in YOUR state. Don’t let anyone tell you what other notaries are doing so they can get their way. The have THIER best interest at heart NOT YOURS. You should ALWAYS know what is appropriate for each situation. If other notaries have been knowingly, unknowingly (or bullied) into doing what was being asked of me to do, I would not have had such a problem. These type of situations makes us ALL look bad…

Remember this is not a ‘California’ thing. It is a notary thing. You just don’t sign your name to a Jurat willy-nilly just because the hiring party says so. You must follow proper notary procedure. Period.

Thanks for reading, and I’d love to hear your feedback…

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August 28, 2018

Be at your best at all times…..

Filed under: Carmen Towles — admin @ 11:01 am

I always try to be kind and treat people the way I want to be treated. I do my best, but sometimes I fall short. This is one such occasion.

I got a call from a nice woman needing my notary services. I could tell that English was not her first language. (I assumed because of where I live that she was Asian. This is not relevant now but will be later in the story) She said she had her sister’s ID, but her sister was out of the country, I then went on to explain to her that the person who I would be notarizing the signature for must be present. I continued to ask a few more questions. And with those questions came clarity. Often times folks have no idea of what they need. Bottom line was that she had a POA (power of attorney) that SHE was to sign giving her sister power of attorney to sign for on her behalf. Therefore, no need for the sister to be present.

With a greater understanding of what she really needed, also realizing that she wasn’t going to be able to afford my travel fee. And since I was already out and about, I agreed to meet her at the Coffee Bean and gave her the address. As I drank my coffee and waited for her, I received a call from one of the 123notary.com members. I was fully engaged in my conversation and had began pacing (which I often do when on the phone), when a very young woman of color approached me and said something inaudible. I snapped at her and said, “Do you see me on the phone?”. She looked shaken and taken aback and she went to the corner of the shop. A couple of minutes passed and as I began winding down my phone conversation, I notice her still in the corner watching me, when I also notice a piece of paper in her hand. I think to myself, “Oh no, could this be the person that I am waiting for?”

I immediately hung up from the call and walked over to her and said: “Are you the person that needs notary services?”, I am thinking please say it ain’t so, LOL. She half smiles and nods and says; “Yes, I am the one”. I felt VERY SMALL at that moment. I empathically told her, that I was sorry and that I was expecting an Asian woman. She was surprised by this, but I told her that peoples’ phone voices can play tricks on me. She nodded in agreement. However, I still had no right to presume her nationality. I live in a predominately Asian community and the young women on the phone had sounded Asian to me. And unfortunately that is what I was looking for. I shouldn’t have judged her nationality in the first place and I most definitely shouldn’t have been rude.

I took care of her notarization, apologized again profusely and off she went. After she had gone, I thought to myself that I will most likely be getting my first negative review. I felt bad about this but also knew that I would deserve it for my bad behavior. A few days later still upset with myself, I happened to be on the site that she found me and I was shocked. There it was, a new review and it seems she hadn’t held my bad behavior against me. It was positive. This is what she wrote, And I quote; “She’s very patient and helpful! She made sure that I understand the process and what can I expect from the party receiving my papers. I will use her services in the future for sure!”

Moral of the story; We all have bad days but be kind to everyone…

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June 9, 2018

My stolen Identity and the fraudulent notary seal…

Filed under: Carmen Towles — Tags: — admin @ 8:03 am

A couple of months back I received a call from a very nice man in Florida who was calling me to verify a notarization that I had completed. Someone was trying to obtain a business loan for a VERY large sum of money and he wanted to verify my notarization as part of the vetting process. He said he had checked the online listings of current notary publics with the California Secretary of State and could not find me. I thought how odd. I am also starting to worry. I asked him for the customers information, such as date of the notarization, name and type of notarization. He gave me the information and none of it sounded familiar to me. It was a notarization that had supposedly been done only a couple of days prior to his call. I went and retrieved my journal and looked through all my entries for the date and name that he had given me and there no such entry for his client. I am thinking, my worst nightmare had finally came true. I am officially the victim of notary fraud and identity theft. The gentlemen went on to tell me that the notarization had looked suspicious (thus the reason for his call) and I asked him, “How so?”.

For starters, he tells me, that the seal was round and not rectangular. it was also an ‘electronic seal’ and had an electronic signature (a cursive font). With some relief, I told him that here in California we don’t use ‘electronic signatures’. We have to always wet sign (meaning wet ink, pen to paper). And I let him know for the record, I don’t have or use a electronic seal. So now at this point, it is time for me to see this notarization. I asked him, if he wouldn’t mind sending over a copy. He was happy to do so.He scanned the document and sent it right over and all I can say was that I was stunned. It was exactly how he had described it. However, after closer inspection, I saw that my name on the seal was crooked and they had spelled my last name incorrectly and the commission number was not mine. However, to be sure, I checked through all my previous commissions-no match, thankfully, not even close. So, I am going to assume that they just made up a number. Also, the name they used is not the name that I use on my commission. So I am pretty sure that I had been chosen at random and that no-one that actually had used my notarial services had tried to commit fraud at my expense. Needless to say, the loan was denied.

I thanked the gentlemen for calling and thanked him for his due diilgence. I was so pleased he had taken the time and picked up the phone to make sure that this notarization was authentic. Which brings me to this-I believe that EVERY notarization that is done (especially those that move property and/or money, think POA’s, and the like) from one hand to another should be verbally checked for it authenticity. This would protect the public as well as the notaries. With the rise of fraud and stolen identities, it only makes sense.

In the end, I let the proper authorities know. I am sure it wasn’t the first time and certainly wont be the last.

And as a side note: All these companies trying to push ‘electronic notarizations’ are out of their minds! This will be fraudsters dream come true!

.

You might also like:

Compilation of posts about Notary fraud
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=21527

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

Attorneys bullying Notaries — when does it end?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19383

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December 3, 2017

Oath, what oath?

Filed under: Carmen Towles,Popular on Linked In — Tags: , , — admin @ 10:48 am

So it has come to my attention and honestly to my surprise that most notary signing agents don’t give oaths. And whats even worse they don’t seem to know that it is part of the job. (btw, I give them regularly) I asked those that don’t, “Why not?” Most replied that, ‘they aren’t required to give oaths in their state’ and others didnt know anything about them at all. Really? Then I went on to ask, “Don’t you know that most sets of loan documents have a few documents in the loan package that require an oath be given?” Such as, for example; the signature name affidavit, correction agreement? And that all ‘jurats’ certificates require an oath. Most tell me that they were never trained that this was necessary. But, here and now I remind you that It is part of your job description. So it may be time to get those handbooks out for your state and take another look. Just remember that anytime you see the notarial wording that begin with, “Sworn or affirmed before me”, will always require an oath to be given. And it should go something like this: ‘Please raise your right hand. Do you solemnly swear or affirm to the truthfulness of the document that you are are about to sign?’ Feel free to make your own, this is mine.:). They undoubtedly will say yes and you can proceed with having them sign the document, Remember these documents typically require the signer to sign in front of you. (If they have signed the document already you can have them resign in front of you or use a fresh copy) State notary law regarding this may vary.

Now, I have never heard of anyone getting in trouble for not giving an oath. But it is part of your job. And it could have the potential to render your notarization void if a judge asked you if you gave the oath and you didn’t. So it is better to know what your duties are and do your job. It is better to be safe not sorry.

Also read – Oaths, how Notaries completely screw them up

Should you use book wording for Oaths or improvise?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19660

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September 14, 2017

Please don’t quit your day job…not just yet

Filed under: Carmen Towles — admin @ 11:47 pm

So you did what?

I get a call from a very nice lady who had just became a notary. She was interested in our loan signing courses and advertising. I asked her how she heard about 123 and loan signing in general, and she went on to tell me that a notary had come to her home and closed her loan. The notary who visited (also happens to be a 123 member) had spoke highly of the profession and that the notary shared with her, that through this income as a signing agent, she was able to send her family to Tahiti. She also stated that her notary had made the signing process look so easy that she wanted to get into the professions as well.

As the conversation started to wind down with all her questions asked and answered she goes on to tell me that she’s ‘waiting’ on her notary stamp/seal and would be ready to sign up immediately upon there arival. She also says’ that she had to get going with the business as she had just quit her job. Startled, I asked her ‘“What did you just say”?” And so she repeats that she had just quit her job. I was shocked. I asked her, “What in the world would posses you to do this”? She replied that she thought being a signing agent was easy to get into and that she was under the impression that she could start making money right away. She said that the notary told her there were places to sign up with. I had to explain to her that although there were places that she could try signing up with in addition to advertising with places like 123notary.com and notary rotary, there was no guarantee that anybody would give her any work. This is a problem for all new notary signing agents. When you are new not too many companies what to take a chance on you.

Seeing how she had just quit her job recently, I advised her to try to get her job back immediately. Sadly, she tells me that they had already fulfilled her position. Needless to say she was VERY upset. And, I was upset with her. For the life of me, I cannot understand this logic of this thinking at all.

In these conversations, I always wonder why folks don’t do more research when they decide to venture into this or any other business. As with all new business it requires dedication and hard work.

Moral of the story; don’t quit your job! The notary signing agent business takes TIME to build, cultivate and grow.

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August 30, 2017

Attorneys bullying Notaries — when does it end?

I get a call from an attorneys assistant in Kentucky. (this office had used me a couple of times previously and had been happy with my work). On this occasion they had a power of attorney- purchase assignment and wanted my assistance. We agreed to a handsome fee. I received the email confirmation of time and place and I call borrower to confirm. I receive the documents a couple of days day before the assignment and as I am going through the notary instructions, i see references made to the notary acknowledgement wording. It states that I must NOT correct or modify the notarial wording on the Mortgage/Deed, (I just love how these folks love to tell us how to do our jobs) as there had been problems with other transactions in the past and they had trouble recording the deeds that had been modified. It was also suggested that I was free to attach my California compliant acknowledgement if I wish but I MUST also complete the notary certificate that they had already partially filled out. (another no-no in my book) I go to the mortgage/deed and it reads: John Doe as Power of Attorney for Mary Doe as her Attorney In Fact. Now, for us California notaries we cannot ‘certify’ a capacity. This means that everything must go but the name of the person that is appearing before us. In this particular case it is ‘John Doe’ and nothing else.

I call the attorneys office and explain this to the assistant and she said I must do it her way because it will not record. She says she is aware of our rules but insist that they have had problems in the past with the recorders office and that I can also, in addition to notarizing the pre-typed acknowledgement add an acknowledgement if I choose too. I tell her that would mean that I was notarizing everything twice and that was not going to happen. I give her 2 choices: 1. I can line through the unacceptable verbiage and initial or 2. I can cross the whole acknowledgement out and then attach a fresh acknowledgement. Her choice. We go back and forth. We are at a standstill. I go to our Secretary of States website and print out and scan to them the section that prohibits us from certifying a capacity. But that still is not enough for them. I start receiving angry calls from the others in the attorneys office as well as the lenders loan officer. All were insisting-even demanding that I do it their way. Frustrated, I told them to just find someone else. They ignored this request and I assume it is because they knew they would have this same problem with another notary.

At this point, I am really at my wits end and I decide that I should call the County Clerk in Kentucky and see what they have to say about this situation. I ask to speak with a supervisor. I tell her my story and she tells me that she has no idea why they felt that it wouldn’t record. She said that her office is very aware of the different notarial procedures by state and she assured me that the mortgage/deed would record. I emailed all parties involved the supervisor’s name and number.
No-one replied.

On the day of the signing, since they refused to choose whether they wanted a fresh acknowledgement or for me to line through the Power of attorney verbiage and initial. I choose for them. I choose option No. 2. and I attached fresh acknowledgements throughout the package replacing theirs. A much cleaner method.

Moral of the story-I stood my ground. I refused to let folks intimidate/bully me to do something that was illegal for me and my state. Notaries you need to know your notary laws and your do’s and don’ts! Now, although this attorney office never called again and I lost a good paying account, I did what I was supposed to do. I did my job.

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You might also like:

The ultimate recipient
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19146

Power of Attorney of the Future
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=18948

The war between men and women Notaries
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=3693

Compilation of posts about Notary fraud
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=21527

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August 16, 2017

Lets stop undercutting each other….

Filed under: Carmen Towles,Popular on Linked In — admin @ 11:45 pm

I won’t name names. I don’t do that. You know who you are. But once again, it has come to my attention that someone in my area is undercutting our fees for general notary work. In our area (Los Angeles) most of us have fees that are pretty much unified. Fees generally will only vary by type of assignment (loan, general notary work, etc) and any special requests. But we have a defector, lol. Maybe they don’t know that they are selling themselves short. Maybe they don’t know that they can get and are worth more. But 25.00 travel fee is VERY low for the Los Angeles/Santa Monica area. Just think of the time, traffic and gas. Think of what it costs you just to be a notary and stay in business. You can’t make any money at that rate. Every state and county will be different. But, no matter your area if if you all stick together everyone wins.

I remember on 3 occasions in the late 90’s, I needed to have mobile/traveling notary services for my ailing mother. I was not a notary public at this time. All the notaries that we used (who didn’t even know each other btw) charged 50 travel fee. That was over 15 years ago. Currently, most of us are at 60.00 for travel.with a few others even higher at 75.00 just for travel. IMO, this is quite modest considering, time and gas, wear and tear on your vehicle. Remember people time is money. Ask yourself what is your time worth? If you need the service, the convenience of having a notary to come to you at your connivence is ‘priceless’. I know this to be true as my clients tell me this daily. They love and appreciate it. Know your worth and your value. I know mine.

Think about it…

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You might also like:

A compilation of posts about Notary pricing
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19781

Comedic pricing from Apo-steal-of-a-deal to Zilch
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=18941

Why you really need to know your profession and have thick skin
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=21272

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July 1, 2017

Signing service drama….

Filed under: Carmen Towles,Popular on Linked In — admin @ 10:07 am

As most of you know, I to am a traveling mobile notary/signing agent. I get a call on Friday afternoon to do a job that was described to me as a single document that I would need to take to a church on Sunday morning. There was to be 3 signers and no notarizing for a fee of $75.00. Contact was to be the Pastor of a church. I was also told that I did not have to wait for all the signers signatures. If someone didn’t show up, I could just leave the document with the Pastor and he would be responsible for the missing signatures and returning the document. ‘Sounds great’, I tell the caller. These are the jobs all of us live for, easy in and out. I was under the impression that it was just another general notary assignment. I received a confirmation verifying time, place and fee amount. I then realize that this is a signing service and also one of our 123notar.com members. Although there were no documents attached to my confirmation, I assumed they would be forthcoming shortly. I responded that I would take care of it and went on with my day. The next day, Saturday, when I still hadn’t received any documents I reached out to the signing service. They sent the PDF to me. I open the file and it’s a full loan signing with 100 plus pages that need to be printed, one signer (the Pastor ) and a few notarizations. So much for the original story. Needless to say, I’m shocked and getting very angry by the second because as far as I am concerned I feel that I have been conned and blatantly lied to. Then the owner of the signing service gives me a call and goes on with a song and dance that they had been gone, blah, blah, blah, and closes with ‘just take 125.00 and call it a day”. “No thank you”, I tell him and he says, “he’ll find someone else”, which is fine by me because now your integrity and character comes into play.

I cannot for the life of me understand why the signing services lie in the first place. And unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident. I hear stories similar to mine all the time. Don’t companies realize that this type of behavior is going to cause problems? And now, in my case, they have created a problem of trust. And if I can’t trust you to give me accurate details of an assignment, how can I trust you to even pay me? I am not willing to find out…

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You might also like:

Read gossip about signing companies
http://blog.123notary.com/?tag=gossip

Notaries with the same name… drama!
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19100

Are we enemies? We behave as if we are.
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20071

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