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October 25, 2017

Does 123notary have the authority to quiz people?

Filed under: Marketing Articles,Popular on Linked In — admin @ 1:05 am

In the old days, I had to quiz people by phone but got tired of it because people were so slow and didn’t know their stuff. Then, I invested in technology to test people, but so many people failed, or cheated on the test, that the results were not practical. Now, I am back to testing people by phone. Since most people won’t volunteer to be tested, I call them up and ask questions. Most people comply although the quality of their answers is horrible. But, people have questioned my authority. Here are some common complaints that I get normally from people who get 20% or less on my test and have anger issues.

1. Who do you think you are to ask me questions?
My response: If you are listed on my site I have the right to ask questions. If you don’t like it, ask me to remove your listing and I will.

2. Do you think you are the NNA?
My response: The NNA is a nationwide Notary organization. So are we. They do not call people and ask questions, but do remote testing for people who want to be tested as a Notary or Signing Agent. We at 123notary also have Signing Agent certifications, so we are similar to the NNA in many ways. We do many of the same things they do except that they sell supplies and we don’t.

3. You are not a state licensing agency.
My response: The states do such a bad job commissioning completely unqualified, incompetent people that I have to take over where the states left off which is educating people and testing them. I am not authorized by any state to teach Notary issues, however nobody who is qualified will lift a finger for me so I have to do the work myself and it is tedious. I am a web site licensing agency. I offer the license to be listed on my website and I will take it away from you if you can’t function as a Notary Public.

4. We are paying customers, therefor you don’t have the right to ask us anything.
My response: Your last payment was in 2014 which was three years ago. You now have a free listing. But, even if you were up to date in your payments, I have a reputation with the people who use our site. If everytime you went to 123notary you got horrible Notaries who ruined your loans and cost you thousands of dollars, you would avoid my site. If every time you used 123notary you got angry jerks who were rude to you, you would only use NotaryRotary or some other site. I have to have competent and polite Notaries on my site or people will stop coming. That means I have the necessity to ask you questions to verify your competence. And if I learn that you are not competent as a Notary Public, I should probably remove you although I remove very few people for incompetence.

However, I was auditing the people who passed my online test. Many cheated by memorizing the answers or having someone test for them. So, the only way to keep you certified is to ask a few questions by phone to make sure your phone score is consistent with your online score. If you got 90% online and a 60% phone score that is close enough, but what if you get a 20% phone score? If I give my certification to people who cheated, then the certification loses its meaning and becomes worthless. All I ask is that you passed legitimately and I do not want to test you every year like the NNA. They have their way and I have mine.

Just because you are paying me $99 per year doesn’t give you the right to ruin my reputation with users. And just as you pay to go to a restaurant you have to behave properly or they can throw you out. When you pay for an air ticket you sit down when the captain tells you to even though you are the one paying. When you pay to go to school you follow their rules. It is the same on 123notary. All we ask is that you maintain your listing and behave politely on the unusual occasion when I will ask you a few questions. I also request that you know how to be a competent Notary.


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October 24, 2017

More Notary Questions from Ken

Filed under: Ken Edelstein,Popular on Linked In — admin @ 12:36 am

You realize at the shipping depot that you forgot to double check the loan package. Upon inspection you notice that the borrower did not initial the signed signature page of the Note.

1. You make a copy of the page, email it to the borrower, requesting they initial it and FAX it to your employer, then you ship.
2. Knowing you will miss the drop off, you return to the borrower for the missing initials, and ship the next day, happy that the package is now complete.
3. Initials are not required on signed pages, so you ship with a post-it at the top of the package noting the missing initials.
4. You add the missing initials with a different color pen so they will know it was a notary correction then ship.

You are in Kansas and the property is in Montana. You have been directed to make no changes whatsoever to the docs. How do you notarize the Mortgage (State of Montana. County of Snow).

1. Leave the Venue as is, following directions to the letter, notarize directly on the Mortgage without any changes
2. Change the Venue to where the notarization takes place, crossing out the values and initialing the changes
3. Attach a new notarization to the Mortgage, ignoring the notary section that was preprinted.
4. Call the Title Company and do whatever they tell you to do.

The airbill appears fuzzy, you only have access to a dropbox, you were directed to make sure it is shipped same day.
1. It’s their airbill, use it and drop in the box.
2. Nobody answers (Signing Service, Title Co., etc.) so leave message and hold for instructions
3. Scan and email entire package to every email address involved and wait for instructions
4. Leave messages, scan & email & ship

Loan Officer sends you an email authorizing backdating the notarization to yesterday to preserve the borrower rate lock
1. Accommodate the request as you have proof that it was authorized
2. Ignore the backdate request and proceed using today’s date
3. Return (dump) the job
4. Let the borrower choose what date is to be used

Borrower signed in your place in the notary section
1. Start over using the appropriate page from the borrower copy
2. Strike and initial the error (notary & borrower initial) and sign nearby
3. Reversals are acceptable, you sign where the borrower normally signs
4. Strike and initial the error (only notary initials the strike) and sign nearby

You are 5 miles from borrower and freezing rain starts to accumulate; you gave your assurance this would be completed on time
1. You proceed to the borrower driving slowly and carefully
2. You call everyone to tell them you are dumping the job and heading home
3. Drive normally to borrower so you will not be late
4. You call borrower and tell them to meet by your house


October 22, 2017

Heard of PC? What about Notarily Correct?

Some people like to be politically correct and use all of the correct language that the neo-marxists want to control us into using. Some of us go around pushing our semantic preferences on others which gets very offensive after a while. The Notary community has been affected by this political correctness too.

We used to have only Oaths, but now we have Affirmations to please the unbelievers as well as those who are ultra-religious and don’t believe in swearing. The problem is that Notaries are so intimidated by the people who are anti-swearing that Notaries deliver Affirmation verbiage when you ask for specifically for an Oath because they are afraid to offend you. I am very offended that you did NOT mention swear in my Oath? I fail people on quizzes because they omit the word, “swear.” If someone doesn’t want to swear do an Affirmation, but you cannot mix and match notary verbiages and procedures. In an Affirmation you affirm, in an Oath you swear. Anthing different would be like a pimp with a health plan. There I go again! I meant to say Pimp-American and we can no longer say health plan but most say PPO, or HMO, or for pimps they now have a PMPO. The bottom line is that the leftist politically correct people have taken over, we have lost our freedom of speech, and most Notaries don’t know their Notary acts at all which is a disaster. The only people who can come to our defense include Bill Meyer and Family Guy!

But, what about being Notarially Correct? Is there such a thing and should there be? To be politically correct when someone orders their coffee black, you ask, “Don’t you mean African-American?”

You certify an acknowledged signature
But, when you Acknowledge a signature as a Notary, what you really mean is that you Certify and Acknowledged signature — and no, it is not just semantics. Because it is not the Notary who acknowledged the signature, it is the signer who acknowledges, the Notary certifies and notarizes.

You got your Notary commission
Many ignorant and notarially incorrect people say, “I just got my Notary.” or “I just got my certificate.” What they mean is that they just received the certificate that certifies them as a state commissioned Notary. The more NC way of saying this is, “I just received my Notary commission.”

Are you a Notary Public?
Some people ask if you are a Notary Republic, a Noterary, or a Notarizer. How ignorant can you get? A Notary Public is a public servant who does Notary work. They work for the public and hence have the term public in their name. A Notary Public may not turn down a legal request from the public otherwise they would be a Notary Private. And you are not a nation, so you are not a Notary Republic any more than Banana Republic is a Republic although I love their button down tropical shirts!

Send me an acknowledgment certificate
Some people say, “Hey, send me a Jurat in the mail.” This sounds like an illegal request. But, if they mean an acknowledgment certificate they better get their terms straight. The two notary acts are not the same.

Filling in your journal the wrong way is also not notarially correct. The correct and thorough methodology is one journal entry per person per document and include additional notes about the signer and a thumbprint. Your state might not require it but the judge who you will be facing will appreciate your prudency and so will 123notary!


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October 18, 2017

An identity fraud case in Florida with 13 defendants: 10 minutes w/a judge

Filed under: Popular on Linked In,Technical & Legal — admin @ 12:54 am

This case made the news and was going to be a Federal Case. There were 13 defendants named in this identity fraud case. The Notary had to spend a week filing out paperwork for court. Then she appeared before the judge in his private chamber. The judge spent ten minutes looking at the journal and filled out some forms and said, “Case dismissed.” The Notary did not have to go to court for a month or appear a second time. It was her journal that saved her butt.

The main defendant added a second name to a Deed and forged someone’s initial. An entire court battle just because of one forged signature. Don’t underestimate how dangerous notarizing Deeds can be, so take all the necessary precautions.

So, if you say, “But, my state doesn’t require me to keep a journal.” Ask yourself if you want to lose a month of your life trapped in court without pay.

Keeping a journal is not that hard, so don’t make a Federal case out of it otherwise you might be involved in a Federal case.

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October 17, 2017

Notary Public 101 — POA, DOR, Dates, X

Filed under: Loan Signing 101,Popular on Linked In,Popular Overall — admin @ 2:30 am

Return to the table of contents for Notary Public 101.



These are really more loan signing topics, but I will include them in this basic Notary course since these are Notarized documents.



Notaries need to know the terms for the people involved in a Power of Attorney signing. The principal is the main person who signs the document who is the Grantor. This is the person who gives power of attorney to someone else to do tasks for him/her while he/she is incapacitated or out of the country. The Grantee is the same person as the Attorney in Fact or otherwise known as Agent. It is important to know these words and yes, we do test on them. However, at loan signings, people will do what is called a Power of Attorney signing. This happens when there is a completed Power of Attorney document and the Attorney in Fact will sign a loan on behalf of the principal. In these signings, they get rejected half the time for technicalities, so pay attention.

There are various ways for an Attorney in Fact to sign in their capacity.

John Smith as Attorney in Fact for Mary Smith
Mary Smith by John Smith, her Attorney in Fact.
John Smith POA for Mary Smith

There are more variations, but those are some common ones. The key thing to understand her is that:

The Lender decides the verbiage when you do a POA loan signing. The Notary might know the “correct” verbiage. However, legal information sites cite at least eight ways an AIF could sign in a POA signing that are all not BAD. The signing will be rejected if you do not sign exactly how the lender wants it. So, if there are no written instructions, ask the Lender.

How can I get a Power of Attorney Notarized?



The Deed of Reconveyance (DOR, not DOA by the way) is often signed by the Trustee and often has the term Trustee inscribed in the signature area instead of someone’s actual name which is very confusing and leads to trouble on a regular basis. Many Notaries have the borrower sign where it says trustee. Usually the trustee is a Lender, or might be the borrower in one of his capacities. If you are not sure who the Trustee is, then ask before you have someone sign there. It is safer to leave this form unsigned than guessing, otherwise you might cause a delay to the Lender and get fired. So, if you are not sure what to do, don’t have anyone sign where it says Trustee.



In the Notary world there are four types of dates. Transaction dates, rescission dates, document dates, and signature dates. The day you sign is the signature date and generally the transaction date. The rescission date is the last day to rescind. But, the document date is arbitrary and is created by the document drafter. It is normally either the day the document was drafted, the date it is intended to be signed, or an arbitrary date. There is no rule for what that date can be.



If a signer is partially incapacitated and cannot sign their full name, many states will allow a Signature by X procedure. The procedure can vary state by state, but the way I was trained is as follows. The principal signs an X on the document and in your journal. There should be TWO SUBSCRIBING WITNESSES who witness the person sign. Witness #1 signs the person’s first name to the left of the X and witness #2 signs the person’s middle and last name to the right of the X. Do the same in the journal. Add a note to the document to let the readers and custodian know what happened as they might not be familiar with this procedure. Keep the phone numbers and ID info of the witnesses in your journal just in case.



October 14, 2017

Notice to Title Companies from 123notary about Thumbprinting

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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October 12, 2017

A Notary gets sued because of a scrambled ID

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 10, 2017

RTC Question created by Ken

Filed under: Ken Edelstein,Popular on Linked In — admin @ 12:29 am

At the end of the package the borrower asks where the 3 day RTC form is. It’s not in the package. They insist that it should be there. You cannot reach anyone by phone.

1. You allow the borrower to hand write their RTC form and you notarize it.
2. Fortunately you have a different loan package with a RTC form with you. You duplicate it and change all entries to match the current loan.
3. You find the loan on the table is for vacation property, you don’t count Saturday when the missing form (via either 1. Or 2. Above) is created.
4. You find the loan on the table is for investment property, thus the RTC is not applicable.

Jeremy’s comments.
I have not signed loans in 12 years and when I did they were mostly refinances. However, not all loans are refinances and the rules of refinances do not apply to all loans. An owner occupied non-investment loan for a refinances gets a three day right to rescind. Investments or commercial loans might not get this privelege.

These days most packages are consolidations, purchases, Helocs, Shelocs, modifications, etc. Refinances are not as common due to the fact that interest rates have not been going down.


October 2, 2017

Additions to policies regarding listings, certification and elite

Filed under: Advertising,Popular on Linked In — admin @ 12:37 am

Here are some new official policies for being listed and having various certifications. Please note that in addition to testing Notaries on general competency in the areas we test them in, we also keep score for general communication skills. Notaries who exhibit various forms of incompetency, bad attitudes, or listening comprehension issues will be written up in our notes which are private and not accessable to the public in any way shape or form.

(1) Requirements for being listed on 123notary.com.
In addition to being a current Notary Public, you must exhibit a certain level of competency to us at 123notary by means of a phone quiz. We require a minimum of 70% passing to ensure being willing to list you on the basis of competency. For those that score less than 70%, we might make exceptions if they are in an area with not so many other Notaries, or not so many other Notaries who passed our test. Issues that we expect Notaries to be competent in include:

Identification, Journals, Notary Acts, Oaths, Certificates, and Seals.

(2) Requirements for getting or keeping certification from 123notary.com.
Our previous rule was that if you were certified by 123notary, that the certification fee was a one time fee only. As of October 2017, we will require Notaries to recertify every (2) years. This will be at a small cost to those who purchased certification after Oct, 2017 and at no cost for those who initially got certified before that date.

All certified Notaries will be quizzed by phone no more than once per calendar year. The quiz for certified Notaries will include questions about:

(a) General Notary Knowledge: Identification, Journals, Notary Acts, Oaths, Certificates, and Seals.
(b) Handling situations before, at, or after loan signings.
(c) General knowledge of basic loan documents which normally include questions about FAQ’s borrowers have and what information is in which document.

(3) Requirements for keeping our Elite certification on 123notary.com.

All elite certified notaries on 123notary will be quizzed by phone no more than once per calendar year for quality standards. The quiz will include.

(a) General Notary Knowledge: Identification, Journals, Notary Acts, Oaths, Certificates, and Seals.
(b) Handling situations before, at, or after loan signings.
(c) General knowledge of basic loan documents which normally include questions about FAQ’s borrowers have and what information is in which document.
(d) Advanced Notary knowledge such as advanced vocabulary, Apostilles, less common documents, and generally harder questions.

Grading for elite certification will be at a higher standard than for the regular certified Notaries although we do not have a set standard for a passing percentage due to the fact that the difficulty of questions can vary from test to test.

(4) It is possible we might have a Platinum certification with an even higher standard in the future. However, during 2017 we will focus on maintaining set standards for the regular certification and elite. Please keep reading the blog to see if Platinum or Platinum Gray is mentioned.


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Does 123notary have the authority to quiz people?

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September 19, 2017

The signers claimed not to have signed the documents

Filed under: Journals,Notary Mistakes,Popular on Linked In — 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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