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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.


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.


November 30, 2017

Why are older Notaries so argumentative?

Filed under: Certification & Communication Skills — admin @ 3:44 am

One of my clients who hires Notaries says there are three types. The new ones who know nothing but want to learn. Those who are six to twenty-four months in the business who know a lot and are still trying. That client thinks that after two years people stop wanting to learn. My take on the situation is that after four years people stop learning. So, what happens after people’s will to learn atrophies? They get worse and forget things.

Older Notaries forget more every year and their attitude gets worse too. I just had a Notary with 24 years experience argue and argue and argue by email with me. If she wants to get ahead on 123notary, you get ahead by proving your knowledge and good attitude, not by fighting. The other problem is that with age, people get a little nutty in the head and cranky. So, old Notaries can sometimes be some of the worst.

So, what is the solution? Old Notaries cannot become new Notaries. However, can an old Notary learn the spirit of a New Notary? Can they make a new beginning?

This reminds me of the saying that there are old pilots and bold pilots but there are very few old bold pilots.

Carmen and I are trying to get the older Notaries to go back to the books and study more. It only works when we spoon feed people, because Notary old wants to study. But, during a discussion with Carmen I realized that we are part of the problem.

I started this business when I was thirty with great dreams, spirit and a desire to make a huge impact on the world. I had no idea what would happen, but I had a ferocious work ethic that kept me going 70 hours a week every week. I am 48 now and believe me I do not have the energy to do more than 40 hours a week. At my age I have learned the art of efficiency because I don’t have the energy or the will to do what I did when I was thirty. I admire the person I used to be and I admire the skills I have learned in the past eighteen years. I have really grown up, but I have also become a cranky old man in the making. So, how can I too learn the spirit of young Notaries?

Our whole site 123notary has the spirit of old Notaries. Our high placements are almost exclusively owned by cranky old Notaries. Carmen and I are cranky and old. We need some hard working new people with some spirit. Where are those people? Oh, and by the way they have to pass my test too which narrows it down.

The Notary profession is one that appeals to those who cannot get a real job. That is why we have so many apathetic people who don’t cooperate. To succeed in this business you cannot be that way. You have to be responsible. Where are the people who are responsible, and study and succeed?

Maybe I need to take some time off and try to re-become what I was when I was thirty. Do something by going out on a limb not knowing what the final outcome would be but basing my risk on pure desire, commitment and hope. It’s not a bad way to begin. America began that way.


November 22, 2017

Notaries who have gone down hill

Filed under: Business Tips — admin @ 3:47 am

I am full of sadness writing this article. I had many elite certified Notaries who have gone downhill. The reasons for their demise very. We had a few who got cancer and lost much of their thinking skills. And these used to be our very best Notaries on the site. I almost wanted to cry after testing some of these people who are Elite Certified yet cannot fill out a journal correctly. I guess they are good with complicated documents, but not good at simple procedures.

This is why my testing is more comprehensive these days. I have to test on basics which I previously assumed that everyone would know. Boy, was I wrong.

Then, there were people who sounded like they were on drugs whose communication was a combination of babbling and incoherent nonsense. A few others just got old and senile.

It is sad that a person’s mental condition can go from good to horrible so quickly. The truth is that the human brain does degenerate, and the energy levels and neurological connections in different parts of the brain can grow or shrink. The secret is walking an hour every day and having brain foods.

Grape Juice
Grape Seed Extract
Ginko Biloba

Whether young or old, work daily to maintain your brain and heart. I don’t want to see others go down hill like a few names that resonate in my head. I don’t want to cry anymore that my former best Notaries have become flunkers.


November 15, 2017

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

Filed under: Best Practices — admin @ 3:48 am

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.


November 12, 2017

What gets you in trouble as a Notary fast vs. slowly

Filed under: Etiquette — admin @ 3:50 am

As a Notary, there are many ways to get in trouble. Here are a few.


If you don’t keep a good journal, you might get into trouble. But, people will only find out how bad your journal is after you are in court which won’t happen too quickly unless you have bad luck. But, many notaries do eventually end up in court, and you will find out then if you are in trouble for not keeping a good journal. Honestly, being in front of a judge is not the time you want to learn how you should have been keeping your journal. Find out before you are in trouble and save yourself the grief.

If you identify people and take liberties doing so, it might take a while before you end up in court. Even if you do so correctly, you can still get in trouble. If the name on the document is not provable based on the ID, then you are going out on a limb notarizing. Also, if you do not thumbprint all signers, if they gave you a fake ID, then you have no paper trail leading to their arrest. You might get away with this for twenty years of sloppiness, and then on year twenty and one day you end up in court as a suspected accomplice in an identity fraud ring. Then you will be sorry. Be prepared and take a thumbprint. Only you can prevent forest fires and identity fraud (not necessarily in that order.)


Not completing certificates will get you into trouble faster than wearing a Rolex in the South Bronx. If there is an error on a certificate, it might not be recordable or acceptable to the document custodian. That can hold a loan up and get a Notary fired or even sued.

Not following directions
Not following directions can ruin a job and get you fired quickly. Signing companies, brokers, and lenders want you to follow directions, so take that seriously. It can cost them thousands if you screw up.

Not answering your phone.
After you are done with a job, you are still on the hook. If you are needed for after-service but just don’t answer, you can get in trouble. Answering email is important too. If you go on vacation or are hospitalized after a job and are not responsive, trouble will follow.

Arguing with Jeremy
If you argue with me about how you don’t need to take my dumb quiz, you get into trouble fast with me. Many people have lost their certifications with 123notary purely due to stubbornness. How unnecessary. But, then if you are impossible with me, you will be impossible with the title companies who use 123notary and who needs that?


November 7, 2017

The grace period after your signing

Filed under: Best Practices — 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!


November 2, 2017

Some of you people have a few screws loose.

Filed under: Certification & Communication Skills — admin @ 1:06 am

When I ask people questions to test their competency, it is remarkable how many people have screws loose.

When I talk to my psychic, I talk to him for an hour every week or two. I do not ask him to repeat anything in an hour. When I talk to Carmen or Adine on the phone, I never have to have them repeat anything. It is remarkable how many of my clients have me repeat myself multiple times in a very short conversation. Do they not understand the confusing technical language I am using with terms like, “Venue, Notarial Act, Acknowledgment, Journal or Affiant?” If you don’t know Notary language, time to look up some terms in our glossary. That is your jour to know!

Normally when I ask people, “If you have TWO people each of whom is signing THREE notarized documents, how many journal entries should you fill out.” The Notary repeats back to me, “Okay, so you have THREE people each signing how many documents?” First of all, it is two people, how can you scramble that? Additionally, they are not signing three documents, they are signing three NOTARIZED documents. If the documents are not notarized documents, you don’t need to fill out any journal entries.

That would lead me to a great trick question — if you have two signers signing three documents, how many journal entries would you need to create? None! Because the documents were not designated to be notarized!

Changing the Scenario
When I ask, “If the ID says John Smith, but the name on the signature of the documetn says, John W Smith, without changing the scenario, can you notarize the signature?” Most people immediately say they would ask for another ID. But, asking for another ID is what I told you specifically not to do, namely, changing the scenario. I am trying to test your skills on saying yes or no to questions with limited parameters, not your skill at changing the question to a completely different quesiton that you prefer to answer. Answer questions as asked or you lose points. It is not rocket science — and the answer is NO. You are a Notary, yet the word you have the most trouble saying is, “NO.”

Talking endlessly
When I ask quick questions I have thousands of people to ask. If you talk endlessly and I have to ask you to stop talking, that is a huge headache for me. Just answer questions quickly without rambling and we can finish our quiz quickly.

Some people take forever to think of answer to questions. The most relentless question is when I ask people which Notary Acts are legal in their state. Most people have to think for a long time. You do Acknowledgements, Jurats and Oaths daily, why is it like rocket science for you to open your mouth and spit it out? Do you not know that those are considered official notarial acts in your state or in most states? A few states don’t have an official Jurat, but they have other acts similar to it such as Verification under Oath or Affidavits or Sworn Statements.

In short, the behavior of Notaries always seems somewhat mentally impaired. Less than 10% of Notaries on 123notary can just answer simple questions without asking me to repeat, scrambling information, changing the scenario, giving round about answers, rambling endlessly or taking a lot of my time. I just want to test your competency. I don’t have all day for nonsense. Try to discipline yourself to answer questions the way they were asked because the business world doesn’t have the patience for this type of nonsense. It is purely unprofessional.


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.

2% of full-time Notaries will end up in court
Identity theft is rampant, but as a full-time Notary, you only have a roughly 2% 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 investigaged 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!


October 14, 2017

Notice to Title Companies from 123notary about Thumbprinting

Filed under: Best Practices — 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!

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