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November 16, 2017

Goofing on the RTC

Filed under: Notary Mistakes,Technical & Legal — admin @ 3:58 am

To be Notary, you need to be a cautious and meticulous person. The problem is, that most Notaries are amazingly careless and go into this profession because anyone can get in. This is a problem. You would not believe how many people goof on the RTC when I ask over the phone.

If a Refinance is signed on a Friday, and Monday is a Federal Holiday, when is the last day to cancel?
The answer is Wednesday night at 11:59pm.

30% of people goof on this ridiculously easy question and say Tuesday and a few say Thursday. What is the problem here? Many Notaries have poor listening comprehension. They are not really paying attention or listening when they are supposed to be listening — even during a test that determines their future. Many others do not concentrate on what they are thinking about. Sometimes it is good to review the situation two or three times in your head before giving an answer.

The Notary profession involves a lot of phone conversation, a few emails and texts as well. If you cannot think and be cooperative over the phone, you will not make it in this profession. It is easy to date a right to cancel. That is kid stuff, yet many Notaries cannot do this.

You can get SUED if you date an RTC wrong.

I signed 4000 loans in my career and did not goof a RTC even once. I made about six technical errors in my career which is not bad. I made more than six social blunders, but as you know, I am not the most socially smooth person in the world.

So, practice the RTC. This is called studying. Remember the basic principles.

The day of the signing doesn’t count as a day to rescind.
Sundays and Federal holidays don’t count as days to rescind.
Friday after Thanksgiving does count unless the Lender says it doesn’t count.
Saturdays are business days or rescission days and do count.

A borrower in a Refinances has three calendar days to rescind not including the day of the signing, Sundays or Federal Holidays.

It’s not rocket science. Learn it correctly so you don’t get fired or sued.

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November 13, 2017

Notary loses $4000 in legal fees because fraud adds name to Acknowledgment certificate.

Filed under: Notary Mistakes — admin @ 1:08 am

When I was a Notary and was handed some other Notary’s work, I normally saw that the he/she/they and capacity(ies) that needed cross outs did not have cross outs. By omitting the cross outs you cannot know if the signer is a single man, woman, or multiple people. California no longer allows Notaries to verify capacity which leaves one less thing to cross out.

If you as a Notary omit to cross out the she/they on an Acknowledgment for a single man, someone could add another name to the certificate and get away with it undetected. Notaries can be extremely negligent and don’t get caught — usually. But, I catch them by the dozen every day and penalize them on my site. I throw hundreds of Notaries off my site for failing my over the phone Notary quizzes. And others stay on the site but I deduct points from their point algorithm results which makes it very hard for them to upgrade. You might not take doing your job correctly seriously, but I do.

And then the Notaries who take their job seriously, but have been doing it wrong for 20 years and think that their work is flawless. I will catch you. I will expose many things you are not doing or are doing incorrectly. Better that I catch you rather than ending up in court with legal fees for not filling out forms correctly. Being a Notary is not rocket science. There is no reason for such negligence!

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October 19, 2017

10 risks to being a Mobile Notary Public.

Filed under: Notary Mistakes — admin @ 12:59 am

Notarize at your own risk. Being a Notary is NOT safe!

Many of you think that being a Notary is an easy way to make a few extra bucks. Stamp a piece of paper, get $10, easy, right? Then you deal with nitpicky signing companies who make you fax things back and you get mad, right? That is an annoyance, but not the bigger problem. Being a Notary is dangerous, particular when you don’t do your job correctly. Most Notaries feel that you look at an ID and if it is close enough and the photo looks like the guy, that you are doing your job, right? Sort of. Here are some itemized risks to being a Notary Public.

1. Hoarders
If you go to someone’s house and they have things stacked to the ceiling, you might be in danger in their house. The signer doesn’t want to hurt you. It is just that they cannot control their psychological disease that causes them to engage in hoarding. My housemate is like this and she has stuff stacked to the ceiling which is dangerous and a fire hazard. Something could fall on you or you could get trapped in a fire.

2. Bio-hazards
Some homes that are not cleaned properly are dangerous. One house Carmen almost went into had some bacterial infection that would have gone straight to her lungs and caused her to go to the hospital. If a house smells funny, maybe you are not safe in there. If it is not ventillated properly, perhaps you should stay away. Poor hygene can be deadly, so be advised.

3. Dogs
Some neighborhoods have unsafe dogs around. Notaries could be harrassed or bitten by dogs. Carrying pepper spray or mace is not a bad idea.

4. Slummy neighbors
You might go to a signing in a bad area and people nearby might be hanging out who look unsavory. I am not sure if this is dangerous, but some people get upset.

5. Angry borrowers.
One Notary got pushed off a flight of stairs and broke her wrist. The borrower didn’t like his APR and I guess the Notary didn’t educate themself on how to give a professional explanation of the APR either. The borrower ended up in jail very quickly and the Notary healed in two months.

6. FBI and lawsuits
Roughly 2% of full-time Notaries will end up in court or with an FBI investigation for being involved with identity theft. If you do not keep a thorough journal with thumbprints and the right amount of journal entries, you are much more likely to be held in court as a witness, suspect, or cause yourself extended grief. Without a thumbprint, the investigators are often helpless to catch really really bad people. So, help them out and keep thumbprints. Do your part to safeguard mankind.

7. Getting sued by a borrower
One borrower got mad and sued the Lender, Title company and the Notary when the Notary had done nothing wrong. The Notary tried to use their E&O insurance, but the company wouldn’t pay out because the Notary had not made any error or omission. Of all the bad luck. So, the Notary lost $30,000 in legal fees. Talk about bad karma.

8. Getting sued by the bar association
If you life in an Attorney state and do loan signings without a law license, the bar association might come after you. Good grief.

9. Jeremy might phone quiz you.
Many Notaries who thought they had it together got a phone call from the infamous Jeremy (that’s me) and failed an over the phone quiz. They rationalized, “I’ve been doing this 30 years and therefore I know what I’m doing.” My rationalization is, “Not if you got 18% on my quiz which consists of very easy and every day notary questions.” You might not lose any money, but you could lose your dignity if you score less than 70%. So, study up!

10. Your seal could be stolen
It happened to me. I had to write to the Secretary of State. My car was broken into and I lost my seal, embosser and journal. What a tragedy. It took me two and a half weeks to be back in business. Think of all the money I lost not to mention the trauma of being robbed of my most prized possession — my inkless embosser that I used as a secondary seal to deter fraud! Boo-hoo.

There is also the risk of traffic accidents and having one of those talking GPS systems that talks back to you when you get in the wrong lane, but I won’t include details of those problems as they are common to all humans who drive and not just to Notaries. The end!

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October 12, 2017

A Notary gets sued because of a scrambled ID

Filed under: Notary Mistakes — admin @ 12:51 am

This is a real story, but the Notary involved did not give me straight answers when I asked her how the deal went down.

Aparantly, a Notary went to an appointment for a Mexican client. The client had a name such as Frankie Martinez Ramirez on the document. But, his ID said, Edie Ramirez Martinez. The last names were reversed while the first name was different.

This Notary failed my over the phone notary test with a score of around 20% which is really bad. It is dangerous not to know how job as a Notary as it can end you up in court. However, this Notary declinded the transaction for correct reasons and was sued anyway. This was the one correct thing the Notary did during her career.

The client Eddie or Frankie (depending on how you look at it) lost out on a Real Estate deal because he could not get notarized in time. He sued the Notary for $1200 and won.

I can figure out why the guy sued, but why did the judge rule in favor of a guy with faulty ID? I think what happened is either the Notary is lying to me. Or, the Notary is so bad at giving straight answers to questions that the judge could not figure out what the lady’s case was and ruled in favor of the defendant who presumably communicated a little better.

I’m not sure exactly what to learn from this case except:
Being a bad communicator as a Notary is not only annoying, but dangerous. It can lose you clients, court cases and annoy Jeremy at 123notary who likes straight answers to straight questions. A yes/no question should be answered with a yes or not and not a story.

In any case, if you deny someone notary work, you might keep a record in your journal of what the ID said and what the document name was just in case you get sued for obeying the law. Good God. What is the world coming to?

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October 6, 2017

The Notary can be named as a suspect if their record keeping is flawed

Filed under: Notary Mistakes — admin @ 1:07 am

I test Notaries by phone daily to see if they are fit to be on my site. The results of the testing are that I have to accept people who shouldn’t be Notaries just because I’m desperate for people in certain remote areas. However, bad Notarial record keeping is not only a headache for me during testing. It is dangerous for society and for the Notary as well. Failing to keep thumbprints makes it impossible for the FBI to catch identity thieves. ID’s can be falsified, so without hard evidence like a thumbprint, you cannot catch the bad guys. However, there’s more.

When the FBI interviews a Notary during an identity fraud case, the Notary is considered a suspect. After all, they were involved in the transaction. You might not think of yourself as a suspect, but the Feds do, because it would be easy for you to be involved, especially if you don’t keep your books correctly.

If your books are filled out with one journal entry per person per document, and each entry is signed and with a thumbprint — that is thorough bookkeeping. Less than 10% of Notaries nationwide keep their journal completely correctly. Here are some ways you could make yourself look more suspicious and perhaps end up in court for a long time.

1. If you put multiple documents in each journal entry, the signer or FBI could claim that you added extra documents AFTER the signing to defraud the signer. You cannot prove that you did not add those documents after the signing, so your hands are tied. This is why you have the signed sign off for each document which you cannot do unless there is a separate journal entry for each document.

2. If you put “loan docs” in a journal entry without specifying the exact names of the loan documents in separate journal entries, you could be accused of forging signatures on additional documents. Since you didn’t record which exact documents you notarized, you could claim anything and there is no evidence one way or the other to prove your innocence.

3. If you use one journal entry for more than one signer you create a mess as multiple signers would have to sign a journal entry where their ID information probably would not fit.

4. If you simply do not keep a journal as it is not required by law in your state you could be easily considered a suspect in identity theft and would have zero evidence to prove your innocence.

5. If you keep proper journal entries, but refuse to thumbprint the signer on a Deed or Power of Attorney (serious documents that affect people’s lives and property) you could be accused of concealing the signer’s true identity if they used a false identification card forged in China ($200 market price by the way.)

6. If you think an ID is the real person because the ID looks like him. Consider that in Iraq, ISIS kills people and sells their passports to other people who look similar for about 1200 Euros.

7. There are corrupt people at the DMV who make falsified driver’s licenses which look real because they are real, but with falsified information. Those bad people normally get caught eventually, but have a good run for a while creating all types of chaos in society. Many were charging $500 for a false ID so I heard.

If you keep proper journal entries and thumbprints, it will be more clear to investigators and judges that you take identifying signers very seriously and cover your tracks in case there is any hanky panky. ID’s can be forged, but you cannot forge a thumbprint unless you wear a latex pad on your thumb with someone else’s prints which the Notary would easily detect. Cover your tracks, and your court cases will be dismissed faster based on the experiences of the Notaries on our site!

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September 19, 2017

The signers claimed not to have signed the documents

Filed under: Journals,Notary Mistakes — admin @ 12:54 am

A Notary’s commission was suspended for three months. His signers went to court and claimed not to have signed any documents. The Notary’s journal was the one piece of evidence that solved the case and got the Notary’s commission back. So, if you are one of these Notaries who says, “But, my state doesn’t require me to keep a journal.” Think again. Your journal is the one thing that can save your hide.

Your journal can save your hide, but you must hide your journal and keep it under lock and key when not in use!

But, what if you did have the signers sign your journal, but you used the “cram it in” style of filling in your journal where the signer signs once but for multiple documents. They could claim you added more documents after the signing since they only signed once. So, think about the logical reason why God invented Notary journals and read what the NNA says about filling in your journal. Nobody teaches it as well as they do.

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September 3, 2017

Common complaints we get about Notaries

Filed under: Notary Mistakes — admin @ 12:08 am

I spent some time with Carmen reading through complaints about Notaries. For years, the NNA, 123notary and others spent a lot of emphasis on educating people about loan documents. However, the complaints we get about Notaries are never about loan documents. Then, we learned that most Notaries listed with us do not understand the basics of how to be a Notary Public. However, we rarely get complaints about people’s Notary work. So, what type of complaints are we getting?

1. Leaving the customer high and dry.
Did you finish a signing and then turn your phone off? Did you not answer your emails because you did not have any notary jobs that week? Did you go on a camping trip where phones don’t work? Or did you get angry with a vendor and just decide not to answer calls. After a signing is over, you are responsible for being available for 72-96 business hours. If the Lender or Title company doesn’t get their documents back and needs a Fedex # and you conveniently are unavailable, what are they supposed to do other than write a negative review about you? If you made a Notary mistake but are not available to fix it what to do? If there is some reason they need you to go back, but can’t reach you then what can they do? If you are not going to be available for four days after you finish a signing, warn people so they know ahead of time.

2. Being rude
I realize from all the Notaries I talk to that many Notaries are just down right rude. And those are the people who call me rude. I am impatient, but not normally rude. I get upset when people either won’t answer a question or give stupid answers or when people don’t care about doing a good job. I learned to combat my own impatience by writing people up who are rude or uncooperative. That way I gain some critical information on the person being rude and often remove them from my database as they are a detriment to society and dangerous to hire despite their claims that, “I’ve been doin’ this for 20 years and therefor know what I’m doin’.” even though they scored 20% on my easy quiz.

3. Not following directions
Many Notaries who I quiz do even worse following directions than they do on loan document questions. If you don’t do what is asked of you, you will get in trouble. So READ instructions, call when you don’t understand something and obey the law and those who hire you in that order. Beginners tend to have a much more difficult time following directions than old timers by the way, and beginners make outrageous notary mistakes a lot more too as they haven’t been scolded (much) yet.

4. Notary mistakes
In the old days we had more complaints about Notary mistakes. Although our notaries typically do not know what they are doing, their mistakes and knowledge omissions don’t seem to get them CAUGHT which is the main thing. If you seal over wording you get caught. If you use your stamp wherever you see the word “seal” in a context where seal means signature, you will get repremanded. If your stamp is smudgy your local county recorder will get you in trouble. But, if you are unable to explain the difference between a Jurat and an Acknowledgment, or forget to do your Oath, then I am the only one who will catch you — and you can bank on the fact that I will, so study up!

So, the bottom line here is that it is good to do a good job as a Notary and even better to know how to distinguish between the various documents in a loan. However, being nice, cooperative, following directions and getting back to people in a timely manner count more than being a good Notary. As a directory owner, I am weeding my directory and weeding out the worst Notaries. The rude ones get weeded out much more quickly than people who are bad Notaries with good attitudes. Someone with a good attitude can learn, but an uncooperative jerk will never learn. So, be advised.

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July 21, 2017

Uncommon ways you could be late to a signing

Filed under: Notary Mistakes — admin @ 9:00 am

It is good to be on time to signings. But, there are ways to be late to a signing to. Bad planning, failure to account for distance, traffic, or printing are common. But, here are some uncommon ones.

1. Your GPS doesn’t have the road you are going to because the road is brand new — or the GPS is quite old.

2. Your new tire got a puncture wound in the side of the tire coming in at a diagonal.

3. They were repaving a road on your way to the signing that you could not circumvent.

4. A UFO abducted you on your way to the signing.
NOTARY “Do you need a Notary?” GREEN GUY “No, but could you like us on Facebook?”

5. Your credit card is deactivated you and you don’t have enough cash to buy gas leaving you stranded.

6. Your Notary seal expires on April 24th and today is April 25th.

7. There is a terrible earthquake and the roads are closed down.

8. Anti-Trump riots force the authorities to shut the city down.

9. Pro-Trump riots force the city to open back up, but block your route to the signing, unless you live in California in which case refer to point 8.

10. All the parking spaces are taken and you drive around the block for half an hour.

11. You have a reserved parking spot, but a black Jeep SUV with no license plates belonging to a dealer suddenly appears in your spot. You call security who says it could take up to two hours to remove the vehicle — yes, it happened to me and I was late to my blog writing appointment.

12. Your little girl hits her head and you go rushing home to make sure she is okay, but get fired by the Loan Officer. At least you don’t get fired as a dad! And yes, this really happened eight years ago to a client.

I think that sums it up.

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March 17, 2015

Signing Agent Pitfall Avoidance by Mindset Awareness

Filed under: Ken Edelstein,Notary Mistakes,Technical & Legal — Tags: , — admin @ 8:16 am

Signing Agent Pitfall Avoidance by Mindset Awareness

No, I’m not going to present to you for the umpteenth time the same old “must do” and “must not do”. They have been covered – extensively, in blog articles and on the forum. If you don’t know how to properly request the initials of Mr. Red Green-Blue III, or the difference between a Venue and a Jurat – you won’t find the answers here. Rather, I will delve into the notary mindset, and related mindset awareness. Don’t worry, no rants or religious dogma will follow. But, I do hope to get you to think about you. You, not the docs, not the borrower, not even your fee – You, are the most important component. Your body may drive the car and carry the package, but it’s above the shoulders that really runs the show.

We do a lot of preparation. Commission renewal, stamps, forms, E&O, gas in the car, printing supplies, and the list goes on and on. The car will stop when it runs out of fuel, so will you. Our fuel is nutrition and sleep. Is taking care of yourself high on your priority list? Or, do you grab junk food and accept a 3AM “plum” – knowing you have an 8AM edoc appointment. Sure, you are “in it for the money”, but take the mindset of the broader view. Drowsy driving after minimal or no sleep abuses your body. Even worse, those fees you earned are nothing compared to wrecking the car and a visit to the emergency room, or morgue.

How do you feel? If you have been taking care of yourself, the physical part of you should be in reasonably good condition. But do you like what you are doing? Or, is it drudgery. Most of the successful signing agents really like what they do, and it shows. They tend to be open, friendly and cheerful. You attitude does not require you to be a doormat for others to trample and take unfair advantage of you. A cheerful mindset does not negate proper business practices and using caution when appropriate. There are many ways to request the kid’s TV volume to be lowered.

While your mindset must be focused on completing the signing without error, how you proceed towards that objective, how you interrelate with the affiants, defines you. Everything you do is a component of the impression you make. Being well fed and rested, docs reviewed, adequate travel time, and sensible scheduling are a good start. Rushing both yourself (no double-check), and the affiants is the mindset for disaster. You are there to lead them thru the completion of the forms; obtaining signatures, initials; and sometimes other paperwork. Your goal is to deliver perfection of both your work, and the work entered by the affiant(s). A zero defect mindset requires to continually check their entries. Are they writing in the margins? Have they reversed the dates back to their native format? Is their required middle initial in each signature?

Ours is very much a person to person service. No signings are conducted over the phone. You arrive in “proper condition” to do the job; but “they” are the exact opposite. Perhaps they are nervous; after all it is the biggest financial transaction in their entire life. It could be that the baby cried all night and they are exhausted. Clearly these conditions and many similar ones; call for a mindset of empathy and toleration. However, as they are “not at the top of their game” you need to be even more diligent in checking what they do. You are an expert at finding where they must enter; you also need to be an expert at verifying that the entry (where possible) is correct.

I assume you “know your stuff”, but technical knowledge of signing procedures is only the foundation. You need to be prepared to relate and adapt to affiants who change mood as the pages turn. A mindset of competence and helpfulness, staying in control, but not in any way being manipulative works best.

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You might also like:

Buddhist Notaries say, “Be at one with 123.”
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=6423

Being at one with the universe as a Notary
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4825

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June 12, 2014

When you goof

Any Vulcans or Androids reading this? As these characters on Startrek embody perfection; they have no need to read further. Oh? You’re human – then read on because as certain as death and taxes you will make a mistake when you notarize on a regular basis. Only do one notarization a year? Chances are that if you are reading blogs here on 123notary.com you will get those rare events perfect. But, for the rest of us; the many thousand details annually virtually guarantee some errors.

The gotchas come from far and wide. I always look at my watch to verify the date; every time. And, my watch is right “most of the time”. The date changes every 24 hours to the next number ranging from 1 to 31. But, alas, my watch does not know which months have less than 31 days. It’s not too hard to imagine an entry on a loose ack of Sept 31! Some names are lengthy and to many, difficult to spell. Even when copying directly from the driver license it’s easy to transpose a letter or two. Magicians use “misdirection” to direct your attention away from what they are really doing. In an “attention diverted” situation; resuming what you were doing requires extreme care.

You can defend against virtually all errors by learning how to double check your work. It’s not as easy as it sounds. An error made the first time; will probably look “just as correct” the second time. When it comes to double checking, the safety expression “Speed Kills” sums it up perfectly. You cannot really do that verification of your work if you go “more quickly” than when you did it the first time. Actually, because you tend to “see what you want to see” – you really have to go much slower to check your work, compared to the time it took you to do the work.

Let’s assume that one slipped past your most diligent double check, what now? It’s a widely known fact that the “fix it” fairy exists, and with pixie dust plus a stroke of the pen; often “makes it right”. Many “up the food chain” don’t want to go through the proper procedures to redo. Those un-named processors just fix it. Illegal? Sure. But as the kids often say “do do do happen”. You will never know if you submitted perfect work or had an “assist”.

However, eventually you will get the call. “There is a problem with what you sent us”. If you have a high speed scanner and bothered to make a complete copy of the file, you can take a look and see if it was indeed your error. There is a good chance they are referring to the page they forgot to send to you. To prove this you need to be able to look at the file that arrived in your in box. Hmmmm, no such document was sent to you –and- you can prove it. Perhaps they claim you did not notarize the Mortgage. For that you need to look at the complete scan of the file you shipped back. There is a good chance that someone on the receiving end just lost the page. Thus, you need records of your input and your output to determine if you actually did goof.

Looking at the file you submitted, it is clear you missed the initials on one page. True it was a subtle miss, as the field was in the middle of the page; a spot easily overlooked. You now can defend your actions by being silly, claiming that they did not highlight the unusual but required location. Or, you can show professionalism and offer to do whatever is necessary to make amends. The policy of http://kenneth-a-edelstein.com is to make a “fix” my highest priority. It’s rare but when it happens I fix it very fast, and ship priority with a charge to my personal FedEx account.

It is times like this that many notaries truly “show their “tail feathers”” by making various lame excuses. They don’t want to hear anything other than how you plan to “make it right”. Telling them about the distractions from the howling dog, the bad lighting, or the cramped table is foolishness; and makes you look like a buffoon. Taking ownership of the problem and vowing to do whatever is necessary to make amends is the only correct response. If you have to take a taxi to the affiant, print at a Kinkos, and wait 2 hours for the signer who is in a meeting prior to going home; that’s exactly what you must do. And do it cheerfully; knowing your reputation is on the line.

Those who depended on you know that all errors cannot be avoided. Now it’s your attitude and zeal to make amends that will determine whether you keep or lose a client. Turn that “goof” into a “nice recovery” and be a hero.

Tweets:
(1) Chances are: if you’re reading blogs here on 123notary.com you will do your notarizations perfectly!
(2) You can defend against virtually all notary errors by learning how to double check your work
(3) When you scan your work to double check, do you know what to look for?
(4) You need to keep meticulous records to determine whose at fault if there’s a mistake!
(5) Everyone makes mistakes, it’s how willing you are to make amends for them that determine your success w/clients.

You might also like:

I have completed 2000 error-free signings
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4596

Common Signing Agent Mistakes
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4553

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