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December 18, 2020

Why are the fees offered to us so low you ask?

Filed under: Carmen Towles,Popular on Facebook (A little) — admin @ 3:15 am

Why are the fees offered to us so low?
….because many of you keep taking them. Some folks are new to the profession and don’t know any better. They want to get experience at any cost. Others know better but take them because they are desperate and can’t seem to find better paying work. Whatever camp you fall in you should not be taking low fees. Why? Because it hurts all of us!

Let me give you some history on our profession. Years ago, it use to matter to signing services/companies who they used. There use to be oral and/or written tests given before they would hire you. And with the exception of a few they paid better and more timely. But those days are behind us. Most of them don’t seem really to care. They are looking for the most green, inexperienced notary so they can maximize THEIR profits. Most title and escrow pay anywhere from 150 to 300 per signing and the signing services know this even if you don’t. The money is allocated from borrowers closing fees and the (title/escrow) typically aren’t paying it out of their title/escrow fees, they are charging it the borrowers. So signings don’t cost them anything for the most part. (there are exceptions to this but no need to get into that now, that’s for another blog). 🙂

Many of you ask me why they use signing services in the first place. Bottom line is they use them for convenience. It is easier to just give the service the assignment and let them find a notary. It frees them up and saves them an enormous amount of time to follow lender instructions and make sure all conditions are met so they can close. But over the years as things have slowed up and due to many notary errors many have abandoned signing services altogether. So contrary to what many folks think many of them do still use notaries directly. But the notary signing professions is still over run with companies that are just out to maximize their profits. And this is our fault.

I had a notary just call in the other day and told me that she was offered a sellers package from a signing service for 20.00. (you know they were receiving WAY more than that) 20.00 dollars people! Unbelievable. Just take a moment and let that sink in. That paltry fee is not even worth starting your car up for. Here in Callie we get 15.00 per signature and then if you have to print (god only knows how many pages) and then take them to FedEx or UPS to ship them back, it is just not worth the time, energy or paper.

Now the saddest and worst part about this situation is probably not the ridiculously low fee of 20.00 being offered, it is the fact that although the notary speaking with me refused, we know somebody will/or did accept it. For those of you that have followed my blogs and or spoken with me, I predicted long ago that as long as there are notaries that take low fees, they would persist and they would eventually get lower and lower. That day has come. I too was just recently offered 65.00 to go to a place that is about 40 minutes from me. There were 2 copies needed to be printed, signed and dropped all at FedEx or UPS all for for 65.00. I would never accept such an assignment, even if I were desperate.

I know that a lot of folks don’t really understand this business and the learning curve is quite high. I also know that other notaries once they start to figure things out they don’t share information on pricing/fees. But we need to work together. We need to educate each other that fees need to be fair and reasonable. We are all in this to make a profit. And you can’t make a profit if others are making/taking the majority of the money (signing services) and you are undercutting one another just to say you had some work.

Remember, the goal is to work direct! Marketing and advertising is key to your success in reaching those title and escrow that have had it with signing services. It is time to works smart not hard. Know your worth.

Just some food for thought…

You might also like:

Travel fees if nothing gets signed
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=22578

What are mobile notary fees?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=21383

Notary Marketing 102 – negotiating fees
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19784

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November 7, 2020

A comprehensive guide to Notary organizations

Originally published in 2016

Are you a Notary? Do you want to join some Notary organizations? There are many of them out there. Some help educate Notaries while others have helplines or hotlines. Some sell Notary supplies while others help Notaries advertise their services.

123notary.com
http://www.123notary.com/
123notary.com has been around since 1999 and helps Notaries advertise their Mobile Notary services online. Title, Escrow, Signing Companies, Attorneys and individuals love using 123notary to find some of the best trained and most experienced Notaries anywhere. 123notary also sells loan signing courses and has a very entertaining and informative blog. Check out their list of signing companies with reviews to see who you should and shouldn’t be working for.

National Notary Association
https://www.nationalnotary.org/
The NNA has been around since 1957 as a California Notary Association to help Notaries with educational resources and tools. In 1964 it became a National Association. NNA sells Notary supplies, errors & omissions insurance, education to help pass the Notary exam and become a signing agent, andmore… Advertise your signing agent services on signingagent.com

Notary Rotary
http://www.notaryrotary.com
Notary Rotary has been around for decades and offers a very potent way for Notaries to advertise their services. They also sell seals, and E&O insurance. Signing Agents can place an add and get found based on how close they are to the zip code being searched for.

SnapDocs
http://www.snapdocs.com/
This organization makes it easy to find newer Notaries who work for cheap as well as providing a system for downloading documents. More seasoned Notaries are complaining that SnapDocs is contributing to the lowering of fees in the industry. We recommend this organization for newer Notaries who want to get their foot in the door.

American Society of Notaries
http://www.notaries.org/
ASN offers a phoneline for technical support just in case Notaries have a question while on the job. They also sell Notary supplies and more.

American Association of Notaries
http://www.notarypublicstamps.com
Buy your stamps from the AAN!

Notary Café
https://notarycafe.com/
Notary Cafe is a smaller directory of Notaries that seems to specialize in the more serious Notaries. We do not have records to show how popular their directory has been in the last few years, but they have been popular for a long time.

Pennsylvania Association of Notaries
https://www.notary.org/
Need help becoming a Notary in Pennsylvania? Try this organization.

California Association of Notaries
http://www.calnotaries.com/
This is yet another Notary directory.

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You might also like:

Snapdocs — see our feed for posts about this company
http://blog.123notary.com/?tag=snapdocs

The Towles Booth (pronounced Tolls)
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=9456

Why the Notary industry went South
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16500

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November 2, 2020

Notary Verbiage & Notary Wording

Originally published Nov 13, 2016.

Notary verbiage is a fancy way of saying Notary wording. Notary verbiage is legally required on all notarizations that are in writing. Oaths and Affirmations might not contain any written proof of the transaction other than in the Notary journal. The Notary form where the Notary wording is documented or written is called a Notary Certificate. A Notary Certificate would be a separate piece of paper where official state Notary wording is written or it could be the official notary wording embedded at the end of a legal document after the signature section.

Notary verbiage varies from state to state
You need to make sure that the Notary wording you are using is prescribed for your state. Each state has different wording, and you can look up that wording on Google by using terms such as, “New Jersey Acknowledgment Verbiage.” You need to specify which type of Notary act you want to know the wording for. Acknowledgments and Jurats are the two most common forms of Notary acts, although some states allow for certified copies of powers of attorney and other specialized notary acts.

Out of State Notary wording causes confusion
If you are a California Notary Public notarizing a deed with Florida Notary wording, you are allowed to Notarize the document. Notary wording on out of state documents might be a little different than what your state’s official Notary verbiage is. But, so long as it is not substantially different it is allowed. That means that so long as there are no differences in meaning behind the words in the Notary verbiage then it is okay. Most Acknowledgment sections claim that the signer appeared before the Notary on a particular date and acknowledged that they in fact signed the instrument (document).

International Wording
Out of state notary wording has never caused a problem in my personal Notary career of eight years. However, international requirements can cause a huge nightmare. It is common for overseas document custodians (the entity who will record or hold on to the document after it is notarized) to have requirements which are not only “not done” in the United States, but could be illegal. It is common for Chinese organizations to want an American Notary to put a stamp on a blank piece of paper with no Notarial wording which is completely illegal. In such a case, you have to explain to the signer that you are required by law to staple a notary certificate to the document being Notarized, fill it out completely, and then stamp it to complete the Notarization. Most states also require the signer to be identified and sign a journal.

ACKNOWLEDGMENT CERTIFICATE WORDING FROM TOP TO BOTTOM

(1) The Venue

Q. What is a Venue?
A. The venue comes at the top of a Notary certificate and documents the state and states the county.

State of California
County of Los Angeles

Certificate verbiage will contain a venue which is a section at the top of the notary certificate which includes the state and county where the notarization took place, and a signature section at the bottom which is where you put your signature and Notary seal impression. It is possible that a preprinted venue will have the wrong state which is a problem. If there is wrong information in the venue, you either have to do a cross out, or start with a brand new form. Most venues pre-print the state, but leave a blank where the county is to be inscribed. A prudent Notary will make sure all forms get filled out correctly with no cross outs as that is very unprofessional, especially on documents such as Deeds or Power of Attorney which are likely to be recorded by the county or some other organization.

(2) The body of an Acknowledgment.
Below the venue, the acknowledgment certificate will state that on such a date, a particular person or several named people personally appeared before a Notary Public and acknowledge that they signed the corresponding document. The wording will also include the fact that the signer was positively identified or perhaps known to the notary (some states allow for personal knowledge of a signer at a notarization.)

(3) The bottom of an Acknowledgment
Locus Sigilli is a lovely Latin term means the location of the stamp. At the bottom of the Notary certificate form is where the signature of the Notary goes and also where the stamp goes. Most Notaries use an inked Notary Seal while others use a non-inked Notary embosser in addition to prove authenticity of the notarization as it is possible to emboss all of the pages of the document to prove that pages were not swapped after the fact.

(4) Examples

Example of a Florida Acknowledgment Certificate

STATE OF FLORIDA

COUNTY OF BROWARD

The foregoing instrument was acknowledged before me this ___________ (date), by __________ (name), who is personally known to me or who has produced _____________ (type of identification) as identification.

______________________________

Notary Public

Printed Name:__________________

My Commission Expires:

____________________

Commission #_________

California Acknowledgment Wording

State of California
County of Los Angeles

On 7-21-2016 before me , Joe Smith Notary Public, personally appeared Sam Sarno
who proved to me on the basis of satisfactory evidence to be the person(s) whose name(s) is/are subscribed to the within instrument and acknowledged to me that he/she/they executed the same in his/her/their authorized capacity(ies), and that by his/her/their signature(s) on the instrument
the person(s), or the entity upon behalf of which the person(s) acted, executed the instrument.

I certify under PENALTY OF PERJURY under the laws of the State of California that the foregoing paragraph is true and correct.

Witness my hand and official seal _______________
Description of Attached Document
Title or Type of Document: _______ Number of Pages: ________
Document Date: _____ Other: _____________

Crossing out verbiage is required
On an Acknowledgment form, the boiler plate wording in the middle of the form requires cross-outs. Normally on legal forms you don’t want to cross out anything, but these cross-outs establish whether you are dealing with an individual signer, a male, female, group, etc.
If you look at the California Acknowledgment wording above, you will notice the term “Person(s)”. If it is a single person, then cross out the (s). The term name(s) — if there is only one name then cross out the (s). If you are doing a name affidavit, you might have a single person and six or seven names in which case do not cross out the (s). Then there is the he/she/they wording which can be complicated if you are notarizing someone of ambiguous gender or for Siamese twins.

Jurat Wording
Jurat wording is substantially different from Acknowledgment wording in that the Jurat requires the signer to sign in the presence of a Notary and swear under Oath as to the truthfulness of the document. Many states have a simplistic wording that just says,

“Subscribed and sworn to before me this __________ date of ______, (enter year) _______. ”

Other states have more elaborate wording, but the basic facts documented are the same.

Certified Copy by Document Custodian
This is a type of Jurat that is used only from time to time. Many individuals want to make a copy of a document and then have a Notary “certify” that the copy is correct. Most states don’t allow a Notary to certify this information. However, a Notary could make the photocopy him/her-self and write a note claiming that they attest to the fact that the photocopy is a true and complete copy of the original. However, the offficial Notary act that takes place is a Jurat where the signer swears under Oath that the copy is genuine. I completed many such Notary acts for college transcripts especially for foreign clients.

Read More about Notary Wording

http://blog.123notary.com/?tag=notary-wording

Should you use book wording for Oaths or improvise?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19660

Notary Acknowledgment Wording
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=18858

Index of information about documents
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20258

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October 25, 2020

10 things Notaries can do to screw up a notarization

Originally published Nov 18, 2016.

1. When walking into a house where the borrower’s have large dogs, remember to not wear a suit of meat, as you will most likely get mauled ferociously

2. Always remember to have a small spare small container of vicks vapor rub, use just a little bit when entering the domicile of a hoarder or, of the special person who hasn’t figured out how to connect their ostomy bag

3. Under no circumstance should you ever bring your 175 lb ferocious rottweiler to a mobile appointment and let them attack your customer.

4. If you’re trying to conserve paper and think it is prudent to duplex (print on both sides), please don’t use that copy for the borrower’s to sign.

5. It’s common sense that if you don’t have your own solution, to print docs as in your own printer, don’t go into the borrower’s home and ask to use their printer to print their docs, and even more especially so, if they happen to be the respective secretary of state in your jurisdiction… remember to swear them in.

6. Body modification is great, and it is completely fine if you want to be an individual…. but if you look like you just bought the hardware section at home depot and affixed it to your face, maybe that isn’t the best way to impress a perspective client….

7. Always remember, the set of documents that the borrower’s signed, is the one you’re supposed to send back to the title company, If you have sent back the blank copy to the title company, you might not get away with stating you used invisible ink.

8. Always be prepared for almost every scenario, make sure you have extra stamp pads for when the ink starts to fade, blue or black pens depending on your jurisdiction, a writing or signature guide for the nearly blind or elderly goes a long way and you can be certain they’ll sign in the right spot. if you have a mobile printer, extra toner and always have extra paper.

9. If you plan on adding a piece of new technology to your equipment list, make sure to test it, find the faults, search the solutions, before you bring it out on the street. Also, before you go out for the day that your devices have a full charge. It’s great if you have a mobile scanner, but if something goes wrong, as things do… its even better if you have a solution or back up plan in place.

10. There is no ten. (sorry) I guess we screwed up!

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10 risks to being a mobile notary public
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19459

13 ways to get sued as a Notary
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19614

Family guy – Peter joins ISIS by mistake & needs a notarized conversion
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=10507

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April 13, 2020

Loan Signing Systems G/B/U?

Filed under: Popular on Facebook (A little),Signing Company Gossip — admin @ 9:14 am

Recently, I have seen that there are a lot more people getting certified by LSS or Loan Signing Systems run by Mark Wills. In the last few months, there seem to be many more graduates than ever before. In the old days, NNA used to be the only popular game for certification. Then the serious people came to 123notary from around 2005 to 2010. After that, Carol Ray at Notary2Pro became the most popular teacher / program for the serious students. Now, it seems that although National Notary Association sells the most courses, the more serious people seem to be following Mark.

So, what do they like about Mark? People say he is high energy, very helpful, and fast on the draw responding to questions. That is always good. At 123notary, we do not have a hotline as part of our program, but Carmen seems to do a lot of mentoring to our students. It seems to be that 1% of our customers monopolize Carmen’s time while the others don’t seek her help at all. Such a disbalance! 123notary is also there to help even though it isn’t formally part of any of our programs.

But, I wanted to see how an LSS certification affects your click average on 123notary. Would it help, hurt, or do nothing at all? I did a quick survey on several dozen listings of the same placement level and newness. Basically I found that based on my quick math, LSS graduates get about 3 or 4% more clicks from their 123notary than those in similar placements and experience without it. 123notary certification gets people more like 30% more clicks on our site at least. NNA certification neither helps nor hurts if you mention it in your notes.

So, we welcome LSS graduates to study from Notary Public 101 on our blog. It is free. Study hard and try to pass my over the phone test. I would like to see how you do.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

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February 15, 2019

Notaries who fail the California Notary exam

Failing the California Notary Exam
Did you fail your California Notary Exam? I passed it many years ago. I studied about 30 hours to make sure I passed the first time. I was nervous and so afraid that I would forget something. We were instructed to bring a see through plastic bag and put particular objects in that bag such as a pencil and a few other things.

The California notary exam is a a lot harder now than in 1997 and 2001 when I took it. The questions are harder, and the multiple choice questions are close variations of each other making it hard to spot the correct answer unless you know your stuff intimately. So study hard. You need to study from the California Notary Handbook but also there are updates on the newsletter from the California Notary Division.

The state carefully hides their questions so you won’t know what is coming unless you know someone who wants to share answers with you. You need to know your notary acts, fees, procedures and application process inside out or you will fail. I believe they allow seven wrong out of thirty, but the questions are so hard that is still not easy.

There are a lot of notaries failing the test and there are fewer Notaries in the state of California as a result. On a more pleasant note, the quality of Notaries in California is far superior to all other states. I know because I test people by phone on notary procedure since I run a notary directory.

You might also like:

Has anyone failed the notary exam?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=1999

NNA certified signers who failed our test
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=892

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January 31, 2018

What types of questions should we be asking Notaries?

Filed under: Etiquette,Popular on Facebook (A little) — admin @ 11:12 am

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

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

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

Your input is valued. Thanks.

You might also like:

Notary Aptitude Test
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=15853

Notary Aptitude Test 2
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=17065

Notary Quiz of the Day
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=21266

Notary Jeopardy
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=14557

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October 16, 2017

Notary Public 101 — POA, DOR, Dates, X

Return to the table of contents for Notary Public 101.

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ADDITIONAL TOPICS

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

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POWER OF ATTORNEY

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?

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DEED OF RECONVEYANCE

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.

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DOCUMENT DATES

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.

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SIGNATURE by X

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.

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October 14, 2017

Notary Public 101 — Journals

Return to table of contents for Notary Public 101.

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NOTARY JOURNALS

Not all states require keeping an official journal of Notarial acts, but 123notary requires it as that is the only evidence you have should you go to court. There are identity thieves and cons all over the place. They might pretend to be a home owner to steal that person’s equity or con grandma into giving her fortune away to some crooks. If your notarization ever goes to court, your journal is the only record of what happened and who signed what, etc. Most Notaries think keeping a journal is an annoying task that they do because they have to. It is the same attitude that children have towards doing their homework at age seven. But, your journal can save your neck, and I know many whose hides have been saved who ended up in court.

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ONE JOURNAL ENTRY PER PERSON PER DOCUMENT

Most Notaries think that you create one entry for each signer and then cram in the names of all of the documents you are notarizing. This is very sloppy. If you pick up five packages from FedEx, do you sign once or do you sign five times, each for a particular tracking number? If you keep one journal entry per person per document, then you have a signature proving consent to be notarized for each document you notarize. Additionally, you must name the particular and complete name of each document, and not just say “loan docs.”

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INFORMATION

In your journal you write the date, time, type of notary act, name of document (the full name, no abbreviations or check boxes here please) and the document date. You need to record the name, address, and ID of the signer as well. Then the signature, thumbprint and notary fee. Let’s focus on the document information in this section though. You need to record the:

Full name of the document, not an abbreviation.

Document Date — many documents have a document date inscribed within that is an arbitrary date created by the document drafter. It could be the date the document was drafted, or the date it was intended to be signed, or a random arbitrary date.

Other distinguishing factors — if you are signing multiple documents with the same name such as Deeds of Trust, Grant Deeds, etc., you need to differentiate them somehow. Escrow numbers, names of grantors, grantees, APN numbers, property addresses, number of pages, or anything else can help identify a document after the fact in case you end up in court.

Signatures — each line of your journal needs to be signed by the corresponding person. If John and Sally are each signing three notarized documents, then John gets entry 1, 2, and 3 while sally gets 4, 5, and 6. Each signer must sign their three entries otherwise the entries are meaningless.

Thumbprints — I am skipping mentioning more about the other things that belong in a journal as most Notaries get it, however, few Notaries keep thumbprints. Your journal thumbprint is the one piece of evidence the FBI will ask for when they come knocking on your front door. Additionally, it discourages fraud as fraudulent people do not want to be thumbprinted.

Other Information — Although I am skipping elaborating about the other journal fields, I will make a quick note about the additional information section in a journal. That leaves space for information about credible witnesses, subscribing witnesses, unusual facts about the signers, the location, or the circumstances in which you are signing. If the signer claims that they are being kidnapped, write that down in the additional information section of your journal, then call the police. If the signer has a weird neck tattoo, you might need to remember that in court. Put it in your journal. The judge will think you are a very thorough Notary.

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FINAL NOTE

The purpose of journals is not only to please your state’s Secretary of State, but also to please judges and FBI agents. Keeping a clean, correct and thorough journal will make a positive impression on the authorities and could keep you from being named as a suspect if God forbid you ever unknowingly Notarize an identity thief, fraud, or otherwise bad person. Notaries don’t get in trouble that often, but for those who make a career out of being a Notary, eventually you will be investigated at least once and perhaps end up in court, so keep your paperwork in order so the investigation is fast and smooth. Otherwise you might end up in court for a very long time — no joke! Roughly 1/7 of the Notaries on our site have ended up in court due to something that they notarized.

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October 13, 2017

Notary Public 101 — Identification

Return to table of contents for Notary Public 101.

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IDENTIFICATION

As a Notary Public, the most important thing you do is to identify a signer. Different states have different rules for what identification document you can use and how someone is to be identified. If a Notary fails to do a good job identifying a signer, that Notary can quickly end up in court as a witness or defendant. In my opinion if you don’t do a good job identifying signers, you might as well not be a Notary Public.

Identification Documents & Characteristics
Commonly accepted ID’s include passports, driver’s licenses, state issued ID cards, military ID’s. Green cards (permanent resident cards) are not necessarily allowed, so look that one up in your handbook. As a rule, an acceptable ID must be:

Current — (there are exceptions in California, Tennessee and perhaps other states that allow the ID to be issued within five years even if it is expired.)

Government Issued — Some Notaries think that a signature affidavit or gas bill is a good secondary form of ID, but those are not government issued and you don’t know what the source of the information for the names on them are.

Photo ID — An acceptable ID should have a photo. I do not think that many states allow social security cards as secondary identifications. However, you can look that up in your handbook.

Physical Description — the ID would say your height, eye color, etc.

Serial Number — the ID should have a number such as A58362D.

Expiration Date — the ID should have an expiration date somewhere. Normally there is an issue date as well somewhere.

Signature — the signature on the ID is important because you will need to compare that to the one in your journal and on the document made by the same person.

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THE NAME ON THE ID

Different states have different rules for what the name on the ID should say relative to the name on the document. Some states do not require the names to match. Others require that the Notary be reasonably sure that the person in the ID and the person on the document are the same person. Reasonably sure is a wishy-washy term. You can never be 100% sure it is the same person because ID’s can be falsified and there could be multiple people with the same name as well as multiple people who look similar to each other. Identifying humans is easier than identifying squirrels, but there can still be confusion. The name on the document’s signature must be provable to the name on the ID, otherwise it would be questionable and risky to notarize that signature.

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PROCEDURE

When you do a Notary act, you ask for the signer’s identification. You record that information in your journal and you keep a journal whether your state requires it or not as that is your only evidence in court. You compare the name on the ID to the name on the document. If the name on the document is not provable based on the ID then you are advised to decline the notarization, especially if it is for a Deed. Here is a summary of the ID and acknowledgment notarization process.

(1) Ask for ID.
(2) Record ID information in journal
(3) Have signer(s) sign your journal and the document(s)
(4) Compare the name in the document to the name on the ID. Make sure the name on the document is provable based on the ID.
(5) Make sure the signature in the journal, document and ID all match.
(6) Fill out the certificate, sign and seal.

Examples of provability in ID
ID says John Smith — document says John W Smith…. name is NOT provable.
ID says John W Smith — document says John W Smith… name is provable
ID says John William Smith — document says John W Smith… name is provable based on the ID.

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FAKE ID

Keep an eye out for fake ID’s. There are guide books that can yelp you identify a false identification. If there is peeling lamination or the signature is above the lamination then it is fake. You can ask the signer what his sign is or what his birthday or height is. If he does not know his sign or birthday based on the ID, then his ID is fake. If he does know his sign that is great, but does not prove the ID is real.

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THUMBPRINTS

If you value your life, ask for journal thumbprints. They can keep you out of court. People might complain about being asked to be thumbprinted as it can seem like an invasion of privacy and a hassle — but a thumbprint is the only way an investigative agency can have a paper trail leading to an arrest of an identity thief. Thumbprints are the only unique form of identification a Notary can use at this point in time. No two thumbprints are alike, and they cannot be forged at a Notary appointment unless they wear a latex thumbprint on their thumb which would be easily detectable.

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You might also like:
Is it legal to photo copy a military ID?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=22120

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