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October 17, 2017

Notary Public 101 from 123notary!

It has come to my attention that most Notaries are unaware of the existence of Notary Acts above and beyond simple Acknowledgments and Jurats. Being aware of unawareness. Kind of a wash? Additionally, the vast majority of Notaries draw a blank when I ask them the rules for Acknowledgments and Jurats. I was hoping for a blank check but no such luck. I did not know how bad the level of ignorance is. I was ignorant about the ignorance. But, now that I acknowledge my ignorance, I am writing this tutorial. It is mandatory that you understand basic Notary acts if you are to be listed on 123notary, and we WILL test you on it and you will be regarded as a “Fake Notary” if you don’t know your basics when I drain the notarial swamp so to speak. Fake news. Fake notaries!

This Notary course is for those who are already Notaries who need a brush up on the most critical aspects of the profession. This is not a how-to course for beginners.



Basic Notary Vocabulary — http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19495

Basic Notary Acts — http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19500

Journals — http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19511

Identification — http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19507

Certificates — http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19502

POA & Other Topics — http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19517

Quiz Questions — http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19520

Review Pointers — http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19679

Real Life Scenarios — http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19681

Quick Info on Loan Docs — http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19946

The 30 Point Loan Signing Course — http://blog.123notary.com/?p=14233

The 123notary Elite Certification Study Guide — http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20118

The 123notary 2018 Certification Standards — http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20120


Thank you for studying from our course. We hold Notaries advertising with 123notary responsible to score at least 70% if we ask them random Notary questions by phone.


September 27, 2014

2014 Absolute BEST signing services

Here are the absolute best signing companies out there. We are publishing a shorter list every month with good signing companies. But, this list is for an even higher cut of companies!

A-1 Title Professional Services

AMC Settlement Service

Angi Notary Signing Services

ASAP Pro Notary Services

ASAP Signing Services


Concierge Notary

Door to Door

Express Signatures

Forseti Real Estate Services

Homefront Escrow

Inscribing Pursuits


Kelley’s Mobile Notary

Lewis Notary Service


Meymax Title

National Paralegal Network

Now Closings

Performance Title

Preferred Notary Network

Premier Lender Services

Right Now Notary

Safe Signings

The Doc Signers

Timios Title

Title Source

TMR Notary

UST Global


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Companies that will hire NEW signing agents!


September 1, 2014

$30 loan signings. Is it worth it even in the best of circumstances?

Believe it or not, there are companies out there offering signings for $30 and $35. Can you believe this? The nerve of some people to offer a notary such a small amount of money for such a huge headache. Even if you are signing only one document, the headache of trying to send documents back, invoice, get paid, and schedule is simply not worth it.

I remember that when I was a notary I did an assignment for $30. It was a single document. I actually got a few assignments like this. When I did regular mobile notary work for offices, I would charge about $35, but they would pay me cash on the spot. There was no waiting for payment or wondering if I would get paid. It was immediate gratification.

Back when I was first starting out in 1999, Nation’s Direct gave me signings for $30. But, I was not expected to walk the borrowers through the loan. One of their staff members did it over the phone. All I had to do was notarize a few signatures and wait for their phone call to end. It was not the best pay, but this is how I got started in the business, so I don’t regret it. But, if I was offered this type of pay now, I would have a fit!

Even if a $30 signing is within a mile and is only a single document, is it worth it? Maybe if you are really hungry. Maybe it is better than not getting any offers at all, but most notaries would rather that the phone just doesn’t ring.

(1) Believe it or not, there are companies out there offering signings for $30!
(2) The nerve of people to offer a notary $30 for a signing!
(3) Most notaries would rather that the phone just didn’t ring

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Signing services take a proportion of the notary fee


August 24, 2014

New Notary Apps that you really need!

The entire world has gone app crazy in the last few years. Personally, I use GPS, and my alarm clock. That’s about it for me in terms of apps. But, what types of apps might notaries need to stay ahead?

(1) Look up signing company reviews.
123notary already has this for i-phones. It is a page, not an app, but what is the difference right?

(2) Find a cheap gas station
Google already does this. Just visit www.google.com and look up “cheap gas” or “gas prices” and then add your zip code. Or enter your city name and gas prices for a better selection if you live in a big city.
You can also use gasbuddy.com

(3) Billing applications?
Very few notaries use sophisticated technology to know who owes them what and for how long. But, there are companies out there who have billing applications that you can see at a glance who owes you what and who to invoice. Is it worth it? You tell us!

(4) Road condition apps.
There are GPS systems that tell you which route to your destination is faster under current situations. Such technology has cleaned up traffic congestion in many cities around the world. If you have technology that tells you how to avoid traffic, you could save an hour per day every day! That would be worth paying a bundle.

(5) Translation apps (risky)
The notary is supposed to be skilled in whatever language they use at a signing. If you look up words in an application, you might screw up and the signer might understand you incorrectly or not at all. Words sometimes have multiple translations. “Do you swear to tell the truth” could translate into “Will you marry me” if you miss a subtle nuance in certain languages. But, for those who are app crazy, you are apt to get one anyway. So, go for it! SayHi Translate can do this by the way!

(6) Mileage log apps for the IRS
The IRS may request to see your trip logs. If it is digital, that might be good, unless it is hard to download, print, or gets accidentally compromised. But, paper records can get lost too, so which way is safer? You can keep track of your miles using your i-phone if you have an app for that. I don’t know of any app like that, but they probably exist as probably 50 million Americans deduct mileage for one reason or another.

(7) eJournal applications?
These exist. You need to be an eNotary to use one. Out of 7000 notaries on our site, I’m sure there are a good three or four of you who are commissioned eNotaries.

(8) iSchedule
You guessed it. This app will manage your busy schedule. You can input all your appointments with this app and all is well until you go into a dead zone or run out of battery.

(9) TurboScan
Quickly scan multipage documents into high-quality PDF’s. Wow! Sounds like a winner for companies who want fax-backs.

(10) Documents Free (Mobile Office Suite)
Not sure what this does, but you can read up on it.

(11) Contacts <-> Excel
I think we all know what this is for.

(12) UPS Mobile
Ship your packages using your i-phone, and hopefully a UPS box. You might need a printer too.

And last but not least… (and appropriately numbered)

(13) Ghost Hunters Haunted House Finder
Find a haunted house near you. Or use it to look up your signings. If one of your signings is in an officially haunted house, suggest that you all meet at Starbucks. Use your Starbucks finder app to get there!

(14) Page Separator Pro
Split those legal and letter sized pieces of paper. Even some dual tray printers don’t have the ability to figure out which tray prints what, and why…

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April 4, 2014

Witnessing the intake forms for Notary Heaven

Clerk: “NEXT!!!!”

Clerk: “You were. Ahh. It says here on your Akashic records that you were a decent notary. You never backdated. That’s just herely.”
Sal: “Pardon?”
Clerk: “Heavenly. But… On your Match.com profile, you front-dated to make yourself younger, but the women you met also front-dated and it all evened out, so no problem there. Back to your records… You never signed without having a current ID with a matching name. You were rarely late to any appointments, and you made a courtesy call when you knew you’d be late. Too bad you were late on your child support payments.”
Sal: “Better late than never.”
Clerk: “As in dead vs. never exist, I agree. Sign here.”
Sal: “I never had any kids, by the way. You must be confusing me with somebody else.”

Clerk: “You must be confusing me with somebody who confuses you for somebody else.”
Heavenly Notary: “Can I see some ID?”
Sal: “I just died. My ID is with my body down there.”

Clerk: “His commission seal expired after he did. I already checked it in.”
Notary: “Your right thumb print, please. The one you hitched a ride with to get to the dance where you met your future wife to whom you gave thumbs down to timely child support.”
Sal: “Boy, you guys really know how to stay on topic.”

Clerk: “You are hereby appointed to Notary Heaven section 263, upper level.”
Notary: “Really? Upper level! I must have done something right? By the way, up here, is upper level a good thing?”

Clerk: “It’s where we put decent notaries who didn’t make their child support payments. It’s up in the nosebleed section. But since noses don’t bleed here, no worries. Be glad you’re not headed to where we stick the backdaters.”
Sal: “Uhh… Where’s that?” Clerk: “Notary purgatory. For all of eternity, they’ll have to remind clients to stop signing differently on each page, so it’s consistent.” Sal: “Okay, but once again, I never had children. Perhaps there’s another Sal who used my social security number and…”
Heavenly Bouncer: “You’re coming with me, kid…”
Sal: “Thanks for calling me a kid. I guess compared to all of eternity, I am on the youthful side.”
Bouncer: “Up these stairs over here.”
Sal: “They don’t have escalators in heaven? Not that I’m complaining.”
Bouncer: “You’re getting aerobic exercise. It will make you feel therely.”

Sal: “Oh, okay. Wait a minute! … There-ly? Don’t you mean here-ly?”
Bouncer: “We just left heaven. This is heaven-adjacent. The address still sounds reasonably fancy, but the neighborhood’s a little seedier. For the seedier folks who shirked their child support payments.”
Sal: “Listen… I didn’t get your name.”
Bouncer: “What do you mean?” Sal: “Your name. I didn’t get your name.” Bouncer: “My name is ‘What do you mean.’ In heaven-adjacent, it makes confused new members sound like they’re my friends.” Sal: “Is there any way to appeal the whole child support issue?”
Bouncer: “You can take that up with the staff in section 263.”
Sal: “What do you mean?” Bouncer: “Yes?” Sal: “Never mind.”

263 Host: “Welcome to section 263. We’ve been expecting you! The accommodations here are adequate, and the food isn’t terrible.”
Sal: “That doesn’t sound… terrible.”
263 Host: “As for the enticing food descriptions in the menu, don’t ask me to affirm them under the penalties of perjury. Oh, and the full portions are reduced by thirty percent, because SOMEONE in the brighter world didn’t make their section 263 support payments. Ring a bell?”
Sal: “How could I have been a deadbeat before I was actually dead?”
263 Host: “Have a nice eternity.”

Old Version

Sal: “Hi, I’m Sal”
Clerk: “You sure are. Hmm. It says here on your Akashic records that you were a good notary. You never backdated. You never signed without having a current ID with a matching name. You were rarely late to any appointments, and you made a courtesy call when you were going to be late. Too bad you were late on your child support payments.
Sal: “Hey, excuse me. I think there is a mistake here. You see I…”
Clerk: “Sign here”
Notary: “Can I see some ID sir?”
Sal: “Hey, give me a break, I just died. My ID is with my body down there. I never had kids by the way, you must be confusing me with…”
Clerk: “Sure you didn’t. Where have I heard that before.”
Notary: “Your right paw-print please.”
Clerk: “You are appointed to Notary Heaven section 263, upper level.”
Notary: “And what did I do to merit such a place? By the way, is that a good place?”
Clerk: “That’s where we put good notaries who didn’t make their child support payments. It’s a whole lot better than where we put the backdaters. I’ll leave that to your imagination.”
Sal: “Okay, but once again, I never had children. Perhaps there is another Sal who used my social security number and…”
Bouncer: “You’re coming with me kid…”
Sal: “Oooh, strong grip…”
Bouncer: “Up these stairs over here.”
Sal: “Is this heaven or is this a prison?”
Bouncer: “Think of all of god’s creation as a karmic realm of one sort or the other. Certain realms are more desirable than others.”
Sal: “Is there any way to appeal the whole child support issue?”
Bouncer: “You can take that up with the staff in section 263. Have a nice day!”

263 Staff: “Welcome to section 263. We have been expecting you! The accommodations here are honest, and the food is not bad, but you only get 70% portions because our funding got cut because SOMEONE in the brighter world didn’t make their section 263 support payments. Sound familiar?”
Sal: “Yeah, about that. I was hoping that we could…”
263 Staff: “NEXT….”

(1) Notary Heaven Section 263: That’s where we put good notaries who didn’t make their child support payments.
(2) Hmm. It says here on your Akashic records that you were a good notary. You never backdated.
(3) I just died, my ID is with my body down there.
(4) Notary Heaven Section 263: That’s where we put good notaries who didn’t make their child support payments.
(5) Hmm. It says here on your Akashic records that you were a good notary. You never backdated.
(6) I just died, my ID is with my body down there.
(7) The notary heaven clerk noted that his commission seal expired after he did.
(8) Notary purgatory: For all of eternity, dead notaries get clients who sign differently on each page.

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March 10, 2014

The Signing and the Mistress

This story was given to us by a female Wisconsin Notary Public Signing Agent. We embellished a little to make the story a little bit more interesting than this Notary in Wisconsin dictated.

I had called the borrowers the previous day to confirm the signing. The wife picked up and said that our appointed time of 7:30pm would be fine. It seemed like a very normal phone call. I was very unaware of the fact that there would be some serious “gender issues” with this signing. I received a call at 2am from the crazy wife. She was screaming and yelling at me at the top of her lungs. She asked me why her husband was cheating on her with me. She must have thought I was the mistress.

The next day I arrived for the signing. The wife had postponed the signing from 7:30pm to 9:30pm so she would at least know where her husband was during that nightly hour. Needless to say it was the most awkward Wisconsin notary signing in the world. There was a cold silence the entire signing. No questions were asked. The husband and wife hardly looked at each other, and never looked directly at me. We didn’t finish the signing until 11pm.

After we were done with “The signing of silence”, I walked back to my car which was in the driveway. I saw another car driving very slowly outside with its lights off. Hmmm. I couldn’t make out who was in it, but whomever it was, they had “big hair.” The only thought that ran through my head was, “Gee, I wonder who that person is…”

(1) When she called the borrowers, the wife picked up and thought the notary was the mistress!
(2) I was very unaware of the fact that there would be some serious “gender issues” with the signing!
(3) When I called the borrowers, the wife picked up and thought I was the mistress! I’m the notary!
(4) Notary: “I’m not the mistress, I’m the notary!”
Wife: “Then why were u driving late last night w/ur lights off?”
(5) The wife had postponed the signing from 7:30 to 9:30pm so she would know where her husband was at that nightly hour.
(6) After we were done w/the “signing of silence,” I saw a car driving slow w/their lights turned off. #mistress
(7) Wife: “Are you the notary or the mistress?” Notary: “I’m the notary, the mistress isn’t coming until later on (I guess)”
(8) Needless to say, it was the most awkward Wisconsin notary signing in the world.

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February 25, 2014

Reverse Blackmail at a Notary Signing

A notary accidentally notarizes an incompletely filled out document. The client holds on to it with hopes of blackmailing the notary. The notary gets a call:
Client: “Hello, I have an incompletely filled out document that was notarized by you… I am going to report you to the Secretary of State and your commission can be revoked, suspended or terminated if I do so. I need you to do 20 notarizations over the next few weeks, otherwise I will report you!”

Notary: “You mean, I have to be your notary on call? How degrading! I can’t believe I made a mistake like that! Please make a copy of the notarization and forward it to me so I can see it.”
Client: “Well, I can get it to you right away. I need something notarized, but don’t have ID. This is why I am having so much trouble.
Notary: “Can you put your request in writing? Email it to me and I will take a look at it right away.”
Client: “Okay, I’ll send it in an email”
Notary: “Ha HA, you just committed a misdemeanor, and I have it in writing! Give me my original document back, and I won’t report YOU to the Secretary of State!
Client: “You wouldn’t!”
Notary: “You gave me no choice. Now the hunter is the hunted.”
Client: “Ah…. could you put that in writing…”

(1) A notary accidentally notarizes an incompletely filled out document, then gets blackmailed!
(2) I need you to do 20 notarizations or I will report you to the SOS who will revoke your commission!

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January 28, 2014

When the Phone does not Ring

It happens to all of us. Some more frequently than others; the dreaded “Zero Day.” Anyone who has notary work every day is either the “Company Notary” or works at the office of the County Clerk. No independent notary has work every day, nor should they. True, you need to earn money; but you also have a life and need to relax now and then. After accounting for your personal life, with excess unwanted “Zero Days” – it’s possible to make very good use of that time.

A Zero Day is an excellent time to take an in-depth look at your “go” kit. Is your notary stamp clean and clear; perhaps a bit more ink on the pad would make a nicer and darker impression. Do you have a good stock of pens? Take them apart and look inside at the ink level. It’s ugly when the ink runs out in the middle of your signature. How about your supply of forms? You have been using them, is it time to add some more to your kit? It’s also a good time to take a look at your receivables; a gentle reminder after 30 days might be in order.Grow your business. Are you resting on your tail feathers expecting business by doing nothing?

Those good clients you had might now have an in-house notary and not call again. Marketing is a never ending task. You must get the word out to potential clients that you exist. Get a map of your local neighborhood and systematically distribute business cards. Do NOT call or email trying to drum up business – most people resent that. Most of all do not fax!

Expand your skills. Do you know how to handle every possible situation? No matter how good you “think” you are there is room for improvement. Many sites offer training courses that are beyond the basics, find them and register. For no cost there is the internet, a vast resource of training and techniques. There is also the library. Knowledge does not have to cost an arm and a leg; but it does “cost” effort on your part. Sitting in front of your TV will not cut it.

Do some preventative maintenance on your printer. When it fails, do you really want to go to Kinkos to print that 300 page set of edoc? Order that spare ink or toner; add a few reams of both letter and legal to your supplies. In addition to your existing hardware, investigate adding a scanner or perhaps a faster fax machine to your inventory. Don’t forget the computer. It will run faster if you regularly defragment the hard drive. Is that hard drive filling up with stuff that you should have deleted long ago? Look at the options for a newer phone and phone plan; steep discounts are out there for those willing to change service providers and learn a new phone.

Now for the tough issue: when it does ring. Let’s say the caller is a world class lowballer who is offering the notary 65$ for an edoc 50 miles away. Yup, it has fax backs, and they said it’s “somewhat large” with 4 people signing. Do you leap at the opportunity – happy to have “some” revenue? You know it’s not worth doing, but that 65$ sounds better than another Zero Day. Don’t fall for it. In the long run you will be much better off doing the tasks cited earlier in this blog.

(1) A day w/no calls is an opportunity to re-ink your seal, call the clients u haven’t heard from in 60 days & rest.
(2) A dead day is a great opportunity to do some maintenance on your printer. Buy a new toner, etc.
(3) If you are offered $65 to print 300 pages and go far away, take the day off instead & catch up on other things.
(4) Do you ever have a day when the phone just doesn’t ring w/customers? Time to catch up w/errands.

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January 13, 2014

Honey, I notarized the kids (don’t try this at home)

We were expecting a notary
It was about nine o’clock. We were expecting a notary at the house to do a refinance. My wife Molly had been away all week. It was an investment property and Molly did not need to be here to sign. The kids would just not go to sleep…

“Why can’t we watch TV anymore?” Joey whined.

“Because someone is coming. Someone from the bank is coming to see us…”

“Who? Do I have to be good? Do I have to stay in my room?”

Joey started chasing Milly around the house… “Joey! Milly! STOP THAT– stop running or the notary monster will notarize you!”

“What’s ‘notarize’? Who does that? What is it?” Milly squeaked.

“The notary has this big clamp. He puts it on the paper we are signing… and if you are not good, he will clamp you with it, too. And it will hurt!”

Joey jumped up and tried to touch the lamp hanging from the ceiling. At that moment, the bulb popped…

“That’s IT!!! You’re done!!!” I yelled. Just then the doorbell rang.

The Notary arrives
I opened the door. It was Mr. Eugene the notary. He was about 5′ tall, with black hair streaked with gray…and he had dark inky circles around his eyes. He carried a notary bag and walked with a limp toward the table. “I’m Mr. Eugene,” he pointed out.

“Eugene– great to meet you. We are going to whip through these documents…but we might also want to notarize these kids,” I winked. But let’s do the signing first.”

We did whip through the documents. He was a thorough notary, and seemed very intent on every detail. When we were done, I asked, “May I see you in my office here?” I led the way…

Would you wear this mask?
I shut the door so we would have a moment away from the kids. “I sort of threatened the kids; they’re really being bad this week… Would you help me ? I made this stamp out of this cardboard…and this costume…I’m going to–would you wear this mask? It will look really scary…”

“I really shouldn’t do this… ” he looked blank.

I decided then and there to be the notary monster myself.
I had cut up an inkpad (I had one from my clerical days) and made a cardboard stamp that read “notarized.” The stamp was 6″ across and looked scary…especially when I inked it up with black ink. I put on the two-headed black monster mask, adjusted it, put on the cloak, grabbed the seal… Mr. Eugene followed me out of the room. He looked worried.

“Where are you kids?” I bellowed in a strange, foreign, angry voice. The stamp said notarized backwards turned like a mirror image…

“No! NO!” yelled the kids, running away from me…” I caught them just as they were headed into the garage… and stamped each of them on their foreheads…then all over their arms and legs…

Just then the phone rang…
Just then the phone rang. It was my wife, Molly. “Honey, I notarized the kids.”

“What do you mean?” she asked. I heard the door slam. It was Mr. Eugene.

“I’ll explain later… I can explain… Don’t call the police.”

(1) Kid: “Do I have to be good?” Mom: “Stop running or that Notary monster will notarize you!”
(2) The stamp said “notarized” backwards turned like a mirror image. The kids were terrified.
(3) I decided then and there to be the notary monster myself.
(4) The notary has this big clamp, and if you’re not good, he’ll clamp you with it, and it will hurt!
(5) I cut up an ink pad and made a cardboard box that read “notarized” backwards like a mirror image.
(6) Frank: “Honey, I notarized the kids.”
Molly: “What do you mean?”
Frank: “I’ll explain later, don’t call the police!”


October 26, 2013

How to Notarize a Copy of a Passport

Notarize a copy of a passport

There is always some confusion about the legality of copying and notarizing official documents. You cannot notarize a birth, marriage or death certificate. There is no official certification procedure for getting a certified copy of a passport. California notaries can make a certified copy of a power of attorney, but that is the only type of document that you can get a certified copy of. So, what type of notary act can you do to notarize that copy of your passport?

There is a notary act called a copy certfication by document custodian. This is basically a Jurat with some unique wording. It makes the sign swear under oath to the accuracy and completeness of the copy. It is common for students to have copies of transcripts notarized using this procedure. I used the copy certification by document custodian form regularly when I was a notary since it was the only way to accommodate requests for copies.

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