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February 15, 2018

Scanning bar codes on an ID in Washington State?

Filed under: Business Tips — admin @ 9:06 am

This is the first I have ever heard of this. There is an app where a person can scan an ID and see if it is legit. If you are a Notary, your worst nightmare is a fake ID (or an unattractive client who has the hots for you, not necessarily in that order.) Well, now you can scan their ID and see if their ID is real.

Keep in mind that even someone with a real ID can be an imposter because there are often many people with the same name. I ran into a Pamela Anderson who was not the one on babe watch… I mean Bay Watch. Imagine how many John Smith’s there are. Sometimes I think the guy on Taxi had a point when he changed his name to Ignatowski. That is more unique than Smith.

Why don’t you Notaries look into this app, as it could be a life saver for Notaries and a life ender for frauds!

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January 31, 2018

What types of questions should we be asking Notaries?

Filed under: Etiquette — admin @ 11:12 am

I know I know — since you are paying me, therefore you can commit bloody murder and I should not even utter one word about it. But, that is not true. If you do bad service for our users, then you are causing damages to my business – so your knowledge level and performance is my business! But, once again, we ask Notaries questions routinely, but what should we be asking?

Questions about following directions
Questions regarding tricky scenarios
Notary technical questions including certificates, oaths, journals, rules, identification
Document related questions
Higher level complicated questions that we only ask for the elite.

Do you guys have suggestions for what matters to you if you work in title? What do you think I should ask? What do you ask Notaries when you hire them? I strongly recommend asking a few questions to see if the Notary is a dimwit or is capable of thinking and communicating clearly (a rarity.)

Your input is valued. Thanks.

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January 22, 2018

123notary’s Notary Training has changed our destiny

Filed under: General Articles — admin @ 8:40 am

In the old days ten years ago we had lots of people attempting our Notary test. Most failed, but enough people took it so we got passers multiple times per week. That slowed down over the years. Recently, the quantity of people trying our online test slowed down to about six per month. How pathetic. And with only one passing per month.

I talked Carmen into doing Notary training. We are giving half an hour of Notary mentoring to Notaries who do not understand the basic clerical skills of being a Notary. Many of these Notaries have been doing Notary work for twenty years yet did not know how to fill in a journal correctly, fill in forms in the best way possible or give proper Oaths. There were many other omissions in their knowledge.

But, since Carmen filled in their knowledge, things started to change. The people she tested started to pass my over the phone quizzes, but more myseriously, the people she did NOT talk to ALSO started passing our tests, namely our online test.

I will say that Carmen changed our entire momentum by adding a sense of competency and mentoring in this industry. It is badly needed.

Additionally, October, the month we started doing mentoring was the most profitable month we have had since 2013 which was a boom year. I guess God likes this too as he is sending some not so subtle hints.

God talked to me — yes he did yes he did. I sound like one of those evangelical Notaries. But, God really did communicate with me. I just interpreted the signs! Speaking of signs, can a Notary notarize a sign?

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January 10, 2018

Notaries just get worse and worse

Filed under: General Articles — admin @ 8:35 am

The fact that the money has dried up in this industry is part of the problem. But, even $50 per signing is not that bad if you live in a cheap part of the country. In NYC it might not go far, but in Oklahoma it does. But, the attitude of Notaries gets worse every year they are in business. Notaries start going down hill after three or four years in business. They lose the will to learn anything. Not only do Notaries lose their will, but they lose their spirit — and their attitude gets worse every year.

The bigger problem is that a lot of Notaries on 123notary have twenty years experience. That is sixteen years for your attitude to get really bad. Yet the twenty year veterans think they are the best Notaries when in real life they are some of the most difficult and unpleasant people to deal with.

In any case, in my quest to identify quality Notaries, I get a few good ones here and there who are polite and answer questions intelligently. The rest are whiners and arguers. Some profession this is! Can you imagine if the rest of the world were this unprofessional? Good god!

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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.

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January 1, 2018

Following directions is more important than you think

Filed under: Best Practices — 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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December 23, 2017

But, I’m not comfortable answering questions over the phone

Filed under: Business Tips — admin @ 11:04 am

People get upset with me all the time because I ask them questions over the phone. I think it is the perfect way to ask questions in this business for the following reason.

In the Mobile Notary business signing and title companies assign work by phone normally. Snapdocs uses mostly texts, but 123notary channels work that is mainly dispatched by phone. So, what does this mean?

If you either don’t answer your phone, don’t want to talk when you answer your phone, or don’t like answering questions over the phone, then you are completely useless!

Bottom line — if you are free enough to answer your phone then you are free enough to talk for a few minutes without protesting.

I get so many excuses why someone can’t talk, yet they have time to answer the phone. I can’t talk because:

Semi-legitimate excuses:
I’m at a signing
I died
I’m sound asleep

Unacceptable excuses:
I’m cooking
I’m eating
I’m at a birthday party
I’m at a barbecue
I’m on my way to church
I just got out of church
It’s 8:30pm for crying out loud
I’m in the hospital
I’m just going to bed
I’m in the shower
I’m driving
I’m just about to get to a signing
I have to leave to go to a signing
I am just between signings

Very illegitimate excuses:
I’m at church (shouldn’t be answering in the first place)
It’s Sunday

If someone offering you money called you and you did not want to talk for any of these reasons, they would call someone else and dump you unless they thought you were the best signer in town. Blowing people off is not a good business decision.

The only semi-legitimate excuse not to talk is because you are at a signing.

If you are on your way to a signing and you answer your phone while driving, then you have a few minutes to talk otherwise why even answer. What business do you have answering the phone during church unless it is Jesus on the other end of the line? If you are in the shower why would you answer a call and then say you can’t talk? Why interrupt a birthday party to answer a call only to tell the other person you can’t talk.

Honestly people, this is BS, and very unprofessional. You are telling the other person that you do not value them when you behave like this. It is insulting, stupid, and will lose you a lot of jobs. What is worse, is that I need to quiz all of the people on 123notary, and if I can’t get a result from you, I have to mark you as failing which I don’t want to do unless you really failed.

So, if you are a Mobile Notary and someone calls you. If you decide to answer the call then offer them at least two minutes as a courtesy. And if you don’t answer, then respond to their message as soon as you have a chance.

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December 20, 2017

Winging it as a Notary

Filed under: Business Tips — admin @ 11:02 am

Many Notaries get into the signing agent profession as a way to make some quick cash or at least make a supplemental income. What they don’t get is that being a signing agent is mostly about being a Notary Public. If you don’t know how to be a good Notary you might run into situations as a signing agent you might not know how to handle or even situations that can get you into legal trouble.

Carmen always tells me that most Notaries are just “winging it” and don’t bother to study to be experts in their field because they don’t think they need to. Being a signing agent requires no specific skill. Just sign as the names are typed in the document and initial where it says to initial, get the docs fedexed back on time and you are done. There might be some faxing or scannning too, but it is not a high skill profession unless…

Unless you want to really know what you are doing. But, what is there to know?

1. Basic Notary Procedure.
Most Notaries think that being a Notary involves stamping forms, but there is a lot more.

(a) There is correct journal filling outing procedure (your only evidenece in course and 15% of full-time signers end up in court at least once,) as well as…
(b) Knowing when to say yes or no to a request which requires knowing something about Notary law and prudency.
(c) Administering Oaths
(d) Knowing the difference between the various Notary acts
(e) Identifying people in prudent ways. Perhaps that should be #1 as it is the most important.
(f) Taking thumbprints as a backup just in case the ID was fake.

2. Introducing the Documents
Knowing how to introduce the loan documents is very different from knowing how to answer FAQ’s about the documents. You can memorize two sentences about each document to introduce the documents to borrowers.

3. Answering FAQ’s
If borrowers want to know which information is where, you had better know, otherwise you are not a signing agent, but only a point and sign Notary. There are many FAQ’s that people might ask. Do you write them down so you can master answering these questions or do you just wing it and hope for the best. What makes a professional is being prepared which is something few Notaries comprehend.

4. Dealing with snags in signings.
There are various things that can go wrong in a signing.
(a) The borrower has a question and the Lender doesn’t answer.
(b) The eDocuments don’t come on time.
(c) There is a cancellation while you are en route.
(d) The borrower doesn’t want to sign either because they don’t understand something or don’t like one of the terms.
(e) You have a package with an unsigned document and don’t know whether or not to drop it because nobody is answering your calls at Title or at the signing company.
(f) The borrower is upset because they are asked to sign John Emanual Smith when they never sign that way.
(g) The borrower hits the roof (and builds a sleeping area attached to the roof) because they find out they are in a flood zone.
(h) At the last minute the borrower finds out they need a cashier’s check.
(i) The borrower won’t swear under Oath because they are an Athiest.
(j) You are notarizing for John and Sally, but Sally is not able to arrive, but the Acknowledgment has John and Sally pretyped in there.

There are many snags, situations, and times when you need knowledge and experience as a signing agent. And then there are the “soft skills” like knowing how to dress and deal with people which matter equally as much if not more. If you go through your career trying to know as little as possible and respond adversely when people ask you questions or have demands of you, you will not do well in this job. Try to be agreeable, responsible, communicate well, and know your stuff. They you are giving yourself a chance and will make our lives easier as well.

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December 14, 2017

A Notary’s membership ended on NR

Filed under: General Articles — admin @ 8:25 am

This was sent to me by a loyal client of 123notary. I will not say who it is about or who sent it. But, this is history making in the Notary world. The irony is that we list this Notary on 123notary and are keeping her. The reason is that there are so many Notaries who are bad news that she is the least of our worries!

After being a member of Notary Rotary since 2009, off and on, and being a real trouble maker on Notary Rotary for as long, Harry and Traci Shoemaker finally ended this particular notary’s membership October 16 when she posted derogatory comments about them, personally, and their website. Christine Oldham’s derogatory post was deleted as well, but it was not quite as bad as this other particular notary’s post, which was also deleted. As you may know there are only three other notaries who have been cut from NR since the board came into existence in 2003: Becca/FL, Kelly Robertson/CA, Cheryl Meril/CA. I’m not sure if Becca and Kelly are still notaries, but Cheryl Meril is still notarizing in San Francisco. Not being a member of these two outstanding websites is a tremendous disadvantage if an NSA wants to be actively accepting work in a highly competitive environment.

The other day I signed on to Notary Cafe and saw that this particular Notary posted a derogatory comment about you personally, and your website. Then this Notary went over to 123notary and posted a comment, but not of derogatory nature. Just to be posting, I guess. But will she in the future, just to be mean and hateful?

I just thought you’d like to know that a free member of your site is posting derogatory comments about 123notary on other forums, and it is not her first time. You would totally be within your right to remove this particular Notary who lives in Chicago from free membership and being able to ever have the opportunity to post negative remarks about you personally and your website.

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December 4, 2017

No matter how good your work is…

Filed under: General Articles — admin @ 3:53 am

I had a Notary who did some work for people. She was to do 400 Acknowledgments. They wanted to pay her an hourly rate, but have her finish the paperwork at her home. Then, they wanted her to only bill them for hours done on site. They wrote a complaint about her claiming she tried to overcharge since she wanted to charge for all her hours.

I wrote her back saying that no matter how good your work is, people will still complain. People appreciate good work when they have had a bad experience one too many times in the past. If you had a bad meal several times, you will appreciate the good meal. If you had a bad Notary or a late Notary you will appreciate the punctual one who knows his/her/their stuff(s).

On the other hand, no matter how bad a Notary is, they always spend a lot of effort trying to convince you that they know everything despite that fact that they cannot give intelligent answers to any of my questions.

On the other hand. If you have had a really top-notch Notary, and then another comes along who is just okay, the okay one will look like an incompetent nitwit in comparison.

The secret here is to try to be better than everyone else in all ways. Claiming to be better is unfortunately not part of the equation. You have to actually be better to the point where other people point out to you things you did that were better than the other guy.

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