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March 26, 2018

Notary Marketing 102 — Contents

In our blog, we have many educational articles as well as marketing help and entertainment. We have written extensively on Notary marketing, including a few comprehensive articles. But, this time, I am creating a free mini-course on marketing which is designed to be a lot more thorough than anything I have ever written before on the blog. Below are the contents:


1. Notary Education — http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19771

2. Notary Advertising — http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19738

3. Notary Profiles — http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19754

4. Notes Sections — http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19788

5. Notary Reviews — http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19760

6. Certifications — http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19762

7. Phone Etiquette — http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19764

8. Negotiating fees — http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19784

9. Promoting Yourself — http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19778

10. Pricing — http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19781

11. Getting Paid — http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19794


Please also read

Best marketing resources for Notaries. This was written long time ago and is a good reference.

A comprehensive guide to Notary organizations

Notary Public 101 — a free resource for learning notary procedure from A to Z.

Signing Agent Best Practices: 63 points

The 30 Point Loan Signing Course



December 13, 2017

My Reply to Vague Incoming Email

Filed under: Ken Edelstein,Popular on Facebook (some) — admin @ 8:23 am

My Reply to Vague Incoming Email
We receive email that is vague, but asks for specific commitment on our part. Some examples:

How much is a notary? Can you notarize my document? My boss wants to know how soon you can be here to notarize some stuff? Where are you located? Do you charge a fee for your services? What are your office hours? Can you open a few hours early, I can only be at your place at 7AM?

I used to waste time typing an answer to these generally unsigned, no phone number spam-like emails. Then I decided to reply with a canned “macro”. On the PC I use keyboardexpress, on the cell phone (Android) my Profimail email program has a similar facility. This is my reply:

Thank you for your inquiry.
I am a Mobile Notary and go to the location you specify; I do not have a walk in facility.
My fee is based on:
1. How many signatures are to be notarized.
2. Where I would be going to do the notarizations.
3. The date & time of day you wish me to arrive.
Please also include your phone number and the nature or title of what is to be notarized.
As soon as I know the 3 items above I will be able to send you a price quote.
If some aspects are not available I can make an estimate based on information provided.
I need your assurance that the person(s) to be notarized:
1. Have government issued photo ID (typically a driver license, non-driver ID, or passport (any country).
2. The name on the ID matches the name on the document to be notarized.
3. Is able to speak directly with me in the English language.
4. Is not impaired in their ability to sign and understand the document they are signing.
5. Have reviewed the document(s) and desire to sign them.
6. Will be available to meet with me when I arrive.
Note that not every document can be notarized, let me know if your requirements include:
A Will, Birth, Death, Marriage, Divorce or Education related documents

Further information is available about me on my web site. Specifically:
My A+ Better Business Bureau Accreditation via hot link bottom left my home page – directly to BBB.
My 500+ positive reviews on 123notary.com (the Reviews link, in my signature, goes there).
You will also find a large amount of useful information (not sales hype) on the topics of:

Apostille Processing
Embassy Legalization
Obtaining Birth, Death, Marriage and other official documents.
Fingerprinting Services
PayPal: https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=LVZJXNQQB2LV8
Web: http://kenneth-a-edelstein.com


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Inappropriate phone behavior

Are you the notary people will wait for or the one who keeps people waiting?

Answering the call and then not wanting to talk.


November 28, 2017

Five things a Notary must do

This article is sort of like — how to be a notary in a nutshell. But, if you were a Notary in a nutshell, would your seal fit in the nutshell? Notaries are a bunch of nuts anyway, so they probably were inside a nutshell at some point in their evolution. In any case, what does a Notary do?

1. Identify
2. Journals
3. Filling out certificates
4. Giving Oaths
5. Understaning the difference between a legal and illegal request.

The most important thing a Notary does is to identify the signer and make sure they are the one who is intended to sign the document. Many Notaries take liberties identifying people which is dangerous and could come back to them. There are fake ID’s and people who impersonate others with the same name or variation of the same or similar name. If you think this will never happen to you, guess again and then you will understand the reason why the Notary profession exists — to deter fraud and safeguard transactions. If you are not safeguarding transactions through proper identification, you might as well not be a Notary.

Not all states require a journal, but if you are in front of a judge or FBI agent and don’t have a journal, you will be in a ton of trouble. So, there is more than just your sec of state to be accountable to. You need a journal in case there is an investigation and if you don’t keep on, you should not be a Notary. Period!

Filling out certificates seems easy enough. But, what if there is a snag? What if the certificate was filled out by the lender and one of the signers cannot show up or what if the state is wrong? Then, you have to make a change. But, what if you don’t know who initials the change, or forget to initial altogether? Then, you will be in huge trouble and will deserve it. What if you don’t know how to add a loose certificate with a staple to a document and fill out the “additional information” section. If you don’t know, then you are taking a huge risk being a Notary. That is mandatory knowledge.

Giving Oaths is something Notaries are generally legally required to know, however, no state audits people’s Oath giving abilities. The result is that 70% or more of Notaries do not know how to give an Oath. Some rely on their cheat sheets, but not knowing how to give an Oath off the top of your head is as ignorant as needing to consult a manual every time you tie your shoe. A real notary would not need a cheat sheet.

Knowing what is legal and not is a must. Different states have different laws. By rejecting legal requests, you are no longer a Notary Public, because a Notary Public accepts all legal requests from the public. Most Notaries reject legal requests on the basis that they don’t feel personally comfortable with the fact that someone already signed a document to be acknowledged or that the document is in a foreign language. In California, the document can be in Slobudian. You are notarizing the signature not the language. Then, the very same notary who declined a legal request will stand in line to do something completely reckless and illegal out of carelessness or stupidity like mailing a loose certificate in the mail simply because — it’s okay because the Lender told me it was okay or, it’s okay because I always do that. Always doing something doesn’t make it legal or safe! The law decides what is legal and acceptable — not you!


You might also like:

Notary Public 101 Real Life Notary Scenarios

Notary Public 101 A Guide to Notary Best Practices

Confirming the Signing


November 3, 2017

Notary Sexual Harassment Issues

Many lady Notaries are afraid to go to a single man’s house for obvious reasons. But, the type of harrassment in this blog article will surprise even you guys who read my blogs regularly. Here are some bizarre situations that would happen.

The client wanted to get it on with the Notary. The Notary was offended, but NOT because the client wanted to get it on with him, but because the client wanted to do it do it with him and his stamp. The Notary said, “I’m not into that!”

The next situation involves the Notary chasing a woman around a desk (sounds like a Hindi movie) to get her signature. The woman resists because she claims she doesn’t know the Notary well enough to sign his journal. Sounds like a Beetles song, “Baby let me sign your journal.”

The last situation happened with Will from Will and Grace. Will had a male Notary who was straight who was offended because of how Will kept talking about how he wanted to be Notarized. Will: “Oh, NOTARIZE me, STAMP me, STAMP me all night long. Oh, whip out that embosser. Oh, you… Do you want me to SIGN something? I want to SIGN your BOOK. Oh please let me sign your book! Are you going to hold my thumb when we do journal thumbprints?” Then the Notary said, “Oh, my state doesn’t require thumbprints.” Then Will said, “in that case, you’re fired, but before I fire you, are you going to stamp me for approval?”


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Compilation of posts about Notary dating & romance

The Sexting Notary

Don’t have unprotected Notarizations

The sexist Notary Dentist

You will be all alone with me

The Mannequin Signer


October 17, 2017

Notary Public 101 — Quiz Questions

Return to Table of Contents for Notary Public 101.


If you have studied our short but sweet Notary course, you might be ready for some sample questions. We alternate questions on our real test, but these questions will help you learn the knowledge concretely so you do well should we ever quiz you.


1. What is/are the difference(s) between an Oath and an Affirmation?

2. What is the difference between an Acknowledgment and a Jurat?

3. Name all Notary acts allowed in your state.

4. Who has the final authority to decide what goes in the venue for an Acknowledgment certificate?

5. Can a borrower initial in an Acknowledgment if there is a change?

6. If you add a loose certificate, what precautions do you take to make sure it does not get added to a different document by accident or fraudulently?

7. If the FBI comes knocking on your door because you notarized someone with a fake ID, what piece of information will they want to see?

8. Which Notary act can the signer sign ten years before appearing before the Notary Public?

9. What is the difference between an Oath for a document (such as an Affidavit with a Jurat) and a purely oral statement?

10. If you are using a preprinted Acknowledgment filled out by the lender, after you inspect the boiler-plate wording with the he/she/they, the date, and the venue, what other things do you need to check on the acknowledgment form before signing and sealing?

11. What is wrong with the following Oath? “Do you affirm that the information you provided is true?”

12. Can you give an Oath that says, “Do you solemnly swear or affirm that your name is Mickey Mouse?”

13. Name two Notary acts that do not have a written document.

14. Name several Notary acts beginning with the letter A as their first letter.

15. What does, “Subscribed and sworn to before me” mean?

16. If you see the words, “Subscribed and sworn to before me BY,” then whose name goes after the by?

17. What is an affiant?

18. What is the technical term for state and county?

19. Name several situations where you might add a loose certificate.



Notary Public 101 — Certificates

Return to table of contents for Notary Public 101.

You might also like: 10 tight points on loose certificates.



There are certificates for various types of Notary acts. Acknowledgments, Jurats, Proofs of Execution. Some states even have certificates for Oaths and Affirmations. Let’s focus on Acknowledgment Certificates for now.

There are various parts of an Acknowledgment form.

(1) The venue. The venue is normally on the upper part of a certificate. In California now there is some verbiage in a box that I am not trained in. But, above the boiler plate wording there is a venue which documents the county and state. Is a venue the county where you did a transaction or two lines of information in a form? Both! However, the documentation of the venue is the one in the certificate and it is informally called the venue and not the documentation of the venue.

(2) The date. The date is a field the Notary is often held responsible to fill in. The date falls into the area of the boiler-plate wording of the form which is standardized wording from your state or perhaps another state.

(3) The names of the signers. As a Notary, you need to input the names of the signers or affiants into the Notary certificate if required. Sometimes it doesn’t make it clear whose name goes in the form. If it says, “Subscribed and sworn to before me by,” then after the “by” put the name of the affiant or signer otherwise you will ruin the form.

(4) The name of the Notary. The name of the Notary once again is entered into the boiler-plate wording area.

(5) Pronouns, singulars and plurals. Each state has a different wording for Notary certificates for each act. However, it is common and typical to have some sort of Notary verbiage that includes he/she/they executed the instrument, his/her/their signature(s), or his/her/their authorized capacity(ies). The critical thing here is to cross out the incorrect words and leave the correct wording. If you do a notarization for John, then cross out the her and their and the (s) assuming John only signed once. If you do a signing for Bruce Jenner then use a special form called the T-acknowledgment which says he/she/it’s complicated/they

(6) Testimonium Clause. Where it says “witness my hand and official seal,” that is called the testimonium clause. Below the boiler plate wording is the signature area where you sign and then affix your notarial seal. And by the way, “Locus Sigilli” means the location of the seal.



Making any change on a Notary certificate is messy in my opinion. You can consider crossing out and initialing wrong information. Remember that ONLY the Notary can initial or write on the certificate forms and the signer cannot touch it. However, it is cleaner to create a new certificate using an Acknowledgment that you get from a pad that you keep your Notary bag. That way you can start all over, fill the form out correctly and then staple it to the document in question.



If you notarize a document that either does not have acceptable Notary wording or doesn’t have any Notary wording (or wrong information on the form) then you might want to add a loose certificate from your pad of certificates that you purchased from the NNA (recommended). Additionally, if there is no room for your seal in some pre-existing Notary verbiage, you might be forced to add a certificate for logistical reasons.

You might also like this blog article:
Sending loose certificates in the mail is generally illegal!

If you add a loose certificate, the certificate must be filled out thoroughly. This means that in addition to the legally required verbiage, you fill out the ADDITIONAL INFORMATION section. The additional information section includes:

Document name — if you don’t put the name of the document on your loose certificate, it might be unstapled and added to a wrong document by accident or on purposes.

Document date — if you don’t put the document date, your certificate might be added to a different document with the same name by accident or fraudulently.

Number of Pages — if you put nine pages, then it will be hard for a fraud to swap the certificate and put it on a similar document with eight pages.

Other Signers — You can name the other signers on the document.

Capacities — California no longer allows this, but you can mention if any of the signers are signing as Attorney in Fact or some other capacity.



Cautious Notaries often use an embosser when notarizing. You can use an inked seal and also a non-ink embosser that leaves a raised seal. If someone photo copies your certificates, the embossed impression will not show up in the photocopy. Additionally, you can emboss each page of a document to discourage page swapping.



If there is a disagreement between a Title company involved in a transaction and a Notary regarding what venue or information goes in an Acknowledgment or Jurat certificate, the Notary has absolute authority. The Notary may ask for the Title company’s preference if there are two legal ways of doing something such as crossing out and initialing vs. adding on a loose certificate if there is an error. However, it is the Notary who is legally responsible for filling out the form and it is the Notary who will end up in court if there is a problem.



If the Notary does not know what to do when filling in forms or notarizing, do NOT ask the Lender or Title companies as they have a beneficial interest in the transaction AND because they are not experts in the field. The tiel rep might be a Notary, but not necessarily in your state, and not necessarily an informed Notary. Title and Lenders will typically tell you whatever it takes to get the job done whether it is legal, recommendable, safe, or kosher, or not. They don’t care just as long as their loan goes through and YOU, the Notary are the one who gets locked up if you did something illegal just as long as it is your seal on the page.

If you need help with a Notary problem, consult your state’s Notary division as a first resource and the NNA hotline as your next resource. I would be very wary about trusting anyone else.



Notary Public 101 — Basic Notary Vocabulary

Return to the table of contents of Notary Public 101.

We will hold you responsible for these. You might also like our complete glossary of Notarial terms.


An Affiant is a person who will swear under Oath and is commonly used to refer to someone who is signing an Affidavit. A Defiant is a person who swears under a tunnel when he loses the AM reception of a basketball game he bet on.

When you attach something to another thing that is considered affixing. But, in the Notary profession when you stamp something with your seal that is also called Affixing. If you forget to stamp a document you notarized and title finds out, you will really be in affix (a third usage of the word.) When you attach someone with another person, that’s called fixing up.

Someone who has received special powers from a Power of Attorney signing is called an Agent or Attorney in Fact and also referred in the document as a Grantee. Someone who’s received special powers to go fight crime is called a superhero.

An Apostille is a Notary procedure or act that involves both the Notary and the Secretary of State where the Secretary of State officially verifies that the Notary used in a transaction is indeed a real and current Notary in good standing. This procedure is used when sending certain documents outside the country and Authentications are also used to send to other particular counties. If you’re a real and current notary who gave up your seat on the subway for an elderly person, you’re good, standing, in good standing.

Attorney in Fact
The person who receives Power of Attorney is called an Attorney in Fact or Agent. When this person signs on behalf of the principal they sign: John Smith, as Attorney in Fact for Sharon Smith. There are other versions for how to sign as an Attorney in Fact. The person who receives power of X-Ray Vision is called Clark Kent.

The borrower is mistakenly referred to as a “client” or “customer” by newer Notaries. The borrower of a cup of sugar is mistakenly called “neighborly.” The signing company regards the title company as their customer while the signer of the loan is called the borrower in oral language. Please also distinguish between a loan signing notary who supervises the signer and is not himself a signer although many Notaries refer to themselves as signers as a professional designation. The Notary Signing Agent is a signing facilitator, not an actual signing in real terms. The borrower can also be referred to as a Mortgagor who borrows from the Mortgagee (the Lender).

A Notary Certificate could be a loose piece of paper attached to a Notarized document. (An unattached loose piece of a** would rather be called promiscuous.) A Jurat could be on a loose certificate where the Affiant writes a statement that they will swear to and sign in the presence of the Notary. Not all Notary acts use a certificate such as purely verbal acts such as Oaths and Affirmations and in some states Witnessing. Please understand that although a Jurat uses an Oath as part of the act, that an Oath by itself does not use a certificate. Some also swear that Donald Trump is a true copy of The Annoying Orange.

Copy Certification by Document Custodian
Some states allow for document copy certifications to be an official Notary Act. Some states only allow for a certified copy of a Power of Attorney. However, the Copy Certification by Document Custodian is an unofficial copy certificate and a glorified Jurat with special additional verbiage where the document custodian swears to the fact that the copy is a true copy of the original document.

A Grantee is a term used to refer to someone who has been given something such as Power of Attorney agent privileges. The actual Power of Attorney document uses this term to describe the future Attorney in Fact or Agent.

A Grantor is a term used to describe someone who has given Power of Attorney privileges by naming an individual as Attorney in Fact or Agent in a Power of Attorney document. A take it for granted-er is a term used to describe someone who knows his wife will throw his dirty laundry in the hamper.

The main signer of a document could be refered to as a principal. This is the Grantor in a Power of Attorney signing although the two terms are not synonomous. A Principal is also a term used in a Proof of Execution signing and is the person who signs the document. Another proof of execution: Kim Sung Un’s uncle’s tombstone.

Subscribing Witness
A witness who watches someone sign is called a subscribing witness. A witness who watches somebody else’s Netflix is called a non-subscribing witness. The Signature by X procedure uses a subscribing witness who is also commonly referred to as a credible witness meaning a witness who can be trusted. Proofs of Execution use a subscribing witness as well to appear before the Notary Public on behalf of the principal who is the person who signed the document. The Signature by Ex procedure is commonly referred to as divorce papers.

The venue is the part of the Notary certificate generally near the top that is used to state the state and county. All states have a venue somewhere in the top third of the certificate for all Notary acts that use a certificate such as Acknowledgments, Jurats, Proofs of Execution, etc. A venue is also the place where the notarization takes place. If you change the venue, does that mean you get up from your chair and go to a different address or does it mean you cross out and initial the venue in the Acknowledgment form. I’ll leave that to your imagination. The venue in my brain that conjured up that question is now closed.


October 15, 2017

Ken’s list of things Notaries goof (or might goof on.)

Filed under: Ken Edelstein,Popular on Facebook (some) — admin @ 12:35 am

Most Notaries don’t make this type of mistake. Perhaps it is mostly very new Notaries or those who are just clueless. But, read this list and learn about what other Notaries do wrong and hope that you do not make the same mistake.

1. Wrong venue
2. Cut off commission end year on cheapskate notary stamp and missed filling it in
3. Unreadable notary stamp / covers preprinted text
4. Missed a sig line (in the middle of the page)
5. Allowed borrower copy (that they already had) to mix pages with live docs
6. Did not notice that some more pages printed (they were complex) and thought was working with complete set. But some still in printer output tray.
7. Email had 17 PDFs and did not keep track / printed one twice and another not at all
8. Accepted sloppy scan of airbill which would not scan at fedex/ups so arrived a day or 2 late.
9. Did not verify address with borrower, delay causes missed drop off time
10. Wrote name in notary section from anywhere other than looking at the ID / or did not change to match ID
11. Accepted photocopy of ID as ID
12. Shipped unprocessed borrower copy
13. Fed embossed end into fax first causing jam/ripped pages
14. Permitted distractions during signing – loud TV, noisey kids, dogs, etc
15. Worked in poorly lit area
16. Did not print & bring a borrower copy (just made a CD) thus cannot swap error pages
17. Opened “big mouth” and spoke about politics, religion, “smell in the air”, keep it to job at hand.
18. 2 jobs back to back, wrong docs with airbill (both jobs screwed)
19. Make commitment to complete that is impossible (not allow for traffic, distance) – job should go to closer notary.
20. Did not follow local notary law TO THE LETTER – allowing a fool to tell notary that it must meet notary standards where the property is located.
21. Idiot notary printed double sided, last page of Note shares first page of Mortgage.
22. Ran out of paper (oops no more legal) or toner – Really???
23. One name on work order, hubbie and wifie on docs – did not verify both would be available with proper ID
24. Did a “stamp and sign ONLY” without venue or notary wording or date. (when there is no notary section but it needs to be notarized)

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August 30, 2017

Attorneys bullying Notaries — when does it end?

I get a call from an attorneys assistant in Kentucky. (this office had used me a couple of times previously and had been happy with my work). On this occasion they had a power of attorney- purchase assignment and wanted my assistance. We agreed to a handsome fee. I received the email confirmation of time and place and I call borrower to confirm. I receive the documents a couple of days day before the assignment and as I am going through the notary instructions, i see references made to the notary acknowledgement wording. It states that I must NOT correct or modify the notarial wording on the Mortgage/Deed, (I just love how these folks love to tell us how to do our jobs) as there had been problems with other transactions in the past and they had trouble recording the deeds that had been modified. It was also suggested that I was free to attach my California compliant acknowledgement if I wish but I MUST also complete the notary certificate that they had already partially filled out. (another no-no in my book) I go to the mortgage/deed and it reads: John Doe as Power of Attorney for Mary Doe as her Attorney In Fact. Now, for us California notaries we cannot ‘certify’ a capacity. This means that everything must go but the name of the person that is appearing before us. In this particular case it is ‘John Doe’ and nothing else.

I call the attorneys office and explain this to the assistant and she said I must do it her way because it will not record. She says she is aware of our rules but insist that they have had problems in the past with the recorders office and that I can also, in addition to notarizing the pre-typed acknowledgement add an acknowledgement if I choose too. I tell her that would mean that I was notarizing everything twice and that was not going to happen. I give her 2 choices: 1. I can line through the unacceptable verbiage and initial or 2. I can cross the whole acknowledgement out and then attach a fresh acknowledgement. Her choice. We go back and forth. We are at a standstill. I go to our Secretary of States website and print out and scan to them the section that prohibits us from certifying a capacity. But that still is not enough for them. I start receiving angry calls from the others in the attorneys office as well as the lenders loan officer. All were insisting-even demanding that I do it their way. Frustrated, I told them to just find someone else. They ignored this request and I assume it is because they knew they would have this same problem with another notary.

At this point, I am really at my wits end and I decide that I should call the County Clerk in Kentucky and see what they have to say about this situation. I ask to speak with a supervisor. I tell her my story and she tells me that she has no idea why they felt that it wouldn’t record. She said that her office is very aware of the different notarial procedures by state and she assured me that the mortgage/deed would record. I emailed all parties involved the supervisor’s name and number.
No-one replied.

On the day of the signing, since they refused to choose whether they wanted a fresh acknowledgement or for me to line through the Power of attorney verbiage and initial. I choose for them. I choose option No. 2. and I attached fresh acknowledgements throughout the package replacing theirs. A much cleaner method.

Moral of the story-I stood my ground. I refused to let folks intimidate/bully me to do something that was illegal for me and my state. Notaries you need to know your notary laws and your do’s and don’ts! Now, although this attorney office never called again and I lost a good paying account, I did what I was supposed to do. I did my job.


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Compilation of posts about Notary fraud


August 6, 2017

Is it better to piss a few people off, or protect society?

The moral of the story is that it is good to look at situations in perspective, preferably a higher perspective. Most Notaries want to please their customers and the way they do their job is for that purpose only. As a Notary Public, your job is to serve the public and to obey the laws of your state. Additionally, you should follow best practices or prudent practices whether required by law or not simply to protect yourself and the public from fraud. The whole purpose in having Notaries is to deter and prevent fraud, so if you take short-cuts that make fraud easy, then there is no point in the existence of your profession.

Many companies discourage thumbprint taking
Many signing companies and title companies do not like Notaries asking for thumbprints because many borrowers don’t like being asked to give thumbprints. Nobody wants complaints. The state of Florida’s FAQ page stated that they did not want Notaries requiring thumbprints, however, they did not object to asking for thumbprints. Many Notaries in Texas claim that their state doesn’t allow thumbprinting. I’m not sure if this is correct or now. The fact is that many entities are against thumbprints since it takes private information from an individual and makes it available to others as well as the fact that many object to thumbprints as it is a pain in the neck (and wrist.)

Identity frauds get caught with thumbprints
Although many people are against thumbprints, many Notaries listed on 123notary claim that they assisted the FBI catch some heinous identity thieves, frauds, ponzi schemers (not to be confused with the Japanese ponzu sauce which is citrus and soy based.) and other bad guys. One Notary on our site help to get a guy nailed for 15 years of hard time who ruined the finances of presumably hundreds of unsuspecting victims. If it hadn’t been for that journal thumbprint that the Notary lady in question took, the FBI would not have been able to catch the fraud.

The Notary is normally considered a suspect
When the FBI interrogates a Notary Public, the Notary is considered a suspect. If you do not take proper journal records, it might appear that you are FACILITATING fraud by your lack of record keeping. Proper journal entries help uncover what happened at a Notary appointment. If an ID was forged, the information in your journal is useless unless you have a thumbprint which cannot be forged unless you are wearing a latex thumb-cover which would be easily detected by the notary. By not keeping a thumbprint you are facilitating the possibility of fraud. Additionally, keeping journal entries with multiple documents per journal entry raises the possibility that the Notary added extra documents to the journal entry after the fact and used them fraudulently which is why we recommend one journal entry per person per document in all cases even if that means you will have to buy a new journal every two weeks. You could be named as a suspect by the FBI or have to appear in court for a long time if there is identity fraud facilitated by your notary commission. A thumbprint is the single most easy and effective way to get judges, FBI agents and other investigators off your back and keep you out of court. I have heard first hand of many examples from our Notaries where they were off the hook due to proper record keeping who would have been in court WITHOUT PAY for a month if they did not keep good records.

Would you rather piss people off or protect society?
Let me ask you a question as a group. Pretend that over the next four years you will notarize 10,000 individuals. Pretend that ONE and only one of these individuals will be a really horrible identity thief who has victimized dozens of people, cheating them ouf of their life savings. Assume that by thumbprinting them, that when the FBI knocks on your door, your information will be the critical piece of evidence that will be used to nail that sucker and put him away for good. By helping nail that scoundrel you saved 21 more people who would have been financially ruined because of that joker. Pretend that 500 people and some of the companies you work for will COMPLAIN that you are taking thumbprints when it is not required by law except currently in California (hopefully subject to change in those other negligent states that should have their heads examined.) Is it worth pissing off 500 people in a small way to save 21 people from financial ruin and emotional devestation resulting from their victimization? My answer is — don’t let petty concerns get in the way of safeguarding society. Be a good citizen and keep your neighbor safe at night. If they protest being thumbprinted, tell them that someone could fake an ID and pretend to be them and steal all of the equity in their home — and that without a thumbprint the soundrel might never even get caught. Your signers will whistle a different tune when they think of themselves as a potential victim.

(a) You will notarize 10,000 people
(b) 1 will be a bad identity thief who will victimize 21 more people if not caught.
(c) You will piss off 500 individuals and a few companies by requiring thumbprints.
Is it worth upsetting 500 people in a small way to save 21 people from complete ruin?

Your job is not to be the detective, but to keep good records that the detectives can use to nail really really bad people. IMO it is worth upsetting a million people to save even one person from a serious act of identity theft! Society needs to be safe and feel safe. Do your part!


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