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November 26, 2016

I felt like I was being used (Snapdocs assignment)

Another Notary worked for Snapdocs and had an emotional reaction after the fact. She got one of those low-ball assignments, took it, and then complained she felt like she was being used. If you don’t like working for below market rates, nobody is putting a gun to your head! This new signer was concerned about wear and tear on her car, ink, paper, gas, etc. The bottom line here is that anyone who uses you is using you no matter the price. You sell your services for money. The question is, do you know the value of your time and do you know the itemization of your expenses for various types of jobs?

There is no set value on your time, so you have to create your own value. If you don’t know your value, how will you accept or reject jobs. For newbies, the value of getting work under your belt is much more than the value of your dignity. An inexperienced Notary in my book is not worth much. If you have less than 1000 signings and no certifications, I personally wouldn’t use you for anything. If you have 5000 signings and three certifications, then you become valuable as long as you have a good track record.

SIGNING CO: Would you do this modification for $100?

NOTARY: I will not – I have morals

SIGNING CO: How about $1,000,000?

NOTARY: Well, okay…

SIGNING CO: How about $150

NOTARY: What kind of Notary do you think I am?

SIGNING CO: We’ve already determined that, we’re just haggling over the price.

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November 23, 2016

Bad Notary Reviews and the Law on the internet

I am not an Attorney, and this blog article does not constitute legal advice, but only my experience talking to Attorneys as well as “practical” advice.

Many internet sites have review systems.
Yelp, RipOff Report, 123notary, Travelocity, and others. People who get a bad review sometimes get upset and want to sue. The question is, who can you sue, and how hard is it? What I have been told (consult an Attorney for a “real” opinion) is that the sites that publish reviews are off the hook. The law protects their right to publish information that someone else wrote regardless of whether it is true, false, based on evidence, or not. However, you do have the right to take legal action within a time frame of perhaps a year or several years depending on your state based on the Statute of Limitations. You would need to contact an Attorney to see what that time frame would be.

The Statute of Limitations
On the other hand, if a slanderous statement is published on the internet which just sits there, even if it had been there for years, you could claim that since it is still being “published” that it is within the time restraints of the statute of limitations and perhaps a judge might buy that (good luck.)

Who can you sue?
If you want to sue someone, you need to go after the individual who wrote the review and NOT 123notary or whomever published it. Step one is to find out who they are which an Attorney can do. You need to know their legal name and address, etc. You can have an Attorney write to them and try to get them to take the review down. If you sue them, it is likely that they are broke, especially if they write in broken English like so many do. So, good luck collecting.

How much will it cost?
But, you do have rights. It might cost you $5000 just to establish the identify of the individual who wrote the review. It might cost another $10,000 to go after them depending on who you hire, what state you are in, and how good the Attorney is, etc.

Bad Notary Reviews?
Very few Notaries on 123notary get bad reviews — only about two per month. However, most Notaries are paranoid that it will happen to them and that their life (as they know it) will be over. Notaries with bad reviews stay in business and do not lose that much market share. What they do lose is their pride more than anything else.

So, for Notaries, you should just leave the Attorneys alone and forget about it. Just write a rebuttal and wait for three years and I’ll remove it. Cover up your bad review with good reviews. If you have ten good reviews and only one bad review at the bottom of the stack, people will see the bad review in proportion or might not even read it at all. A bad review will not ruin you life. Just deal with it like a pro instead of making it worse and provoking a huge conflict with 123notary. After all, it is not our fault you got a bad review. Also, should we disable our entire review system just because one Notary complained bitterly about a bad review and threatened to sue. If we removed his/her bad review we’d have to do it for everyone and then we wouldn’t have a review system at all. Review systems are a very practical way for the publish to defend themselves from bad service providers.


November 20, 2016

Power Of Attorney Documents – Submitted as a double credit document

Power of Attorney vs a Will
There are many types of Power of Attorney documents. However, the general theme is that someone is granting authority to someone else. A Will contains the maker’s words, directives and decisions. The executor of a Will is not a decider of asset allocation, rather a facilitator of the deceased’s allocation desires. In contrast to a Will, the Agent of the Principal (of a Power of Attorney) “may” have the authority to “call the shots” – or, the Agent may be severely constrained. Usually the Agent has “some” authority to sign for the Principal. In almost all cases, the authority granted by a Power of Attorney ceases upon the Principal’s death. The Principal granting power to the Agent may revoke such power at any time unless incapacitated. A Will can also be revoked, until Probate…..

Lifespan of the Power of Attorney
The Durable Power of Attorney – (General or Limited) remains in effect when the Principal becomes incapacitated. If the Power of Attorney is not Durable, the authority of the Agent does not exist if the Principal is in no condition to revoke the authority.

The Springing Power of Attorney – Similar to the Durable, the Springing only “comes into effect” when the Principal is incapacitated. As the definition of incapacitation can vary, the specific definition of the “trigger” should be specified in detail in the document itself.

Scope of the Power of Attorney

The General Power of Attorney – This allows the Agent to sign the name of the Principal unless it’s illegal for them to do so. One example: you can’t grant power for someone to sign your notary signature. If the word Durable is included, the power remains unless revoked or death of the Principal.

The Limited Power of Attorney – (sometimes called a Special Power of Attorney) grants from Principal to Agent authority to perform specific actions. Often this format contains an expiration date. Commonly used with loan documents, authority is granted for the Agent to sign various paperwork related to obtaining real estate.

Entitlement of Agent to Receive Payment

Unrelated to the “Gift Rider”; when the Agent manages (in some jurisdictions) property, they have a statutory right to be paid. Amounts vary, but a very rough guideline (unless otherwise specified) is:
3% of money received by the attorney,
3% of money paid out by the attorney on your behalf, and
3/5 of 1% of the average annual value of the assets covered under your power of attorney.

In personal transactions, the Agent has no right to be paid unless specified by the Principal. In some cases, the Agent applies to the Court to allow payment for Agent Services. In the vast majority of what we will see as Notary Publics, payment is rarely a concern or specified. When a payment arrangement exists, it will usually be part of a separate contract and not contained in the distributed Power of Attorney.

How the Agent uses their Authority

Assume Lock is giving Key an Agent relationship. Key would probable use one of the following formats:
Lock by Key as Attorney-In-Fact
Key as Attorney-In-Fact for Lock
Opinions vary, I prefer the first example because Lock is written first matching the “under the line”.

Considerations for the Notary

ID – Follow your jurisdiction requirements – To The Letter. Power of Attorney documents can easily be litigated in a court. Look very closely at the ID, if it’s a 35 year ago picture does it look like the affiant?

Capability – a tough one, but I like to ask why they are signing, what does this document do?

Initials – Almost never required, but let’s think about it a bit. Initials are mainly used to acknowledge seeing a page. But, I submit they also “mark” a specific page as having been accepted. While I don’t suggest affiants to initial each page (Principal, Agent(s), Monitor(s) and Successor Agent(s)) – I would insist upon it if I was the Principal and not the Notary.

Blank Lines – The Principal should consider a N/A in each not-applicable area. For example: there is usually an area for the “second agent”. If this was subsequently completed, and a “loose ack” added to the document – it might appear that the second agent was approved by the Principal.

Oath – I know, many do not bother to administer an oath. On Power of Attorney documents ya better!

Suggest More, Earn More – Under most jurisdictions, a photocopy of a notarized document – is Not a notarized document. One copy will suffice for a task specific use, as in a Signing. However, a general care giver might need many copies. It is likely that a financial institution will require an original for them to permit the Agent to use their power(s). Your client might not know this, often they assume a photo copy will work the same as an original that was “wet signed” and embossed. A few dollars for each extra copy is a value to your client and might add up to some Sesame Chicken for you.

Witnesses – rare for Power of Attorney but does occur. I feel the witnesses should also be notarized whenever possible. The California “Long Form” Acknowledgement is perfect for this as it has specific areas to associate the “loose ack” to witnessing the document.

Closing Thoughts

I receive many calls for processing Power of Attorney documents. Often the caller is somewhat angry about their recent notary experience. They relate that the notary at the bank refused to notarize a totally legal to process document, it’s bank policy – they relate. The bank does not want their “deep pockets” as part of litigation. These are much more likely to be contested than an application for a passport.

It’s not often, but sometimes someone wants me to notarize their self written Power of Attorney. Of course I can do that, but I caution them that, in the majority of my experience – the document is not in a state specific standard form. Furthermore, your document might not be accepted as you intend. I am willing to proceed, but you have been cautioned that it might not suffice. They can make an informed decision.

Sometimes for a Power of Attorney signing I receive a copy (photocopy or via email) of the relevant Power of Attorney. They send it so I can “verify” and “accept” the Agent signing for the Principal. It is my opinion that I have no requirement to see that document. First, I am not an Attorney, and “technically” am not qualified to judge, read, or take any action; even if the original “wet signed” was submitted. Nor would I be in a position to know if the authority had been revoked, or if the Principal is deceased. When I notarize “Lock by Key as Attorney-in-Fact” – I am notarizing Key – only. Key is stating explicitly, and under oath (I think – it gets a bit fuzzy here, I’m not an attorney) that Key currently has AIF authority.

At the start of this blog entry I mentioned Lifespan and Scope and covered the more commonly used documents. Note that their characteristics can be combined in multiple ways. I think there could be, of the ones covered Four Factorial permutations: 4 * 3 * 2 *1 = 24 variations! This is one document that I never want to have to read and explain (with liability!) to those I will notarize.


November 19, 2016

The Uber principle at Snapdocs. New blood!

Snapdocs has grown in popularity in the last half year. Many of our clients have gotten a lot of business from them. One guy got 350 signings from them while another got 150 last year. Most Notaries are fed up with the low-balling and hand-holding. But, the ones who can tolerate the low-ball practices are getting volume. At low prices after you deduct your toner, paper, gas, and phone-time, you might not end up with much, but at least you get something.

My question is, can these guys stay in business with this business model of low-balling the Notaries? So many Notaries are so sick of it and drop out as a result of these practices. The answer lies with Uber. Uber burns out their drivers very quickly. I forget how long the average driver lasts, but it is not more than a few weeks. They just can’t stand the low pay and difficult situations they are put in. Snapdocs seems to pray on new blood too. Although most Notaries we know have dropped Snapdocs (we should call them SnapDrops) there seems to be an infinite supply of new Notaries with no knowledge, no experience, and most important, no self-respect who work for pennies.

On the other hand, perhaps the signing and title companies will get sick of bad quality Notaries and come back to 123notary where we deliver the highest quality search results in the business. I manicure my directory daily for accuracy of data and quality of Notaries. People value quality, but do they value it enough to pay for it?

I estimate that 123notary is losting 7% of our search volume due to Snapdocs. On the other hand, we are not losing revenue simply because we make our money from Notaries who get paid for high paying Title work for the most part. The Notaries who do low-ball work don’t have much money, don’t spend much money, and won’t lose us much money if they wandered into other pastures. So, we’ll keep our business model of quality search results and quality Notaries over here and hope for the best.

To sum it up. As long as SnapDocs has new blood and the Title companies will stoop to the level of accepting untrained, inexperienced and unqualified Notaries, SnapDocs will stay in business. Scary to think — but true! On a brighter note, they did an excellent job of harnessing modern technology in a way that nobody else did or wants to!


November 16, 2016

Examples of great notes sections

Filed under: Popular on Facebook (shares),Your Notes Section — Tags: — admin @ 11:14 pm

Here are some notes sections that I feel are the best. If you stumbled upon a great notes section, you can recommend that I add it to the list as well. A good notes section is key to successful notary advertising!
To view these listings, just visit

And look up by n#

Thorough & Organized
9741 Saliva Tests

Short & Sweet

Good References & Lists of Capabilities

12886 Sand Ceremony



November 15, 2016

How to spot fake ID at a notarization

Most Notaries study Notary law. But, do we keep handbooks that are up to date about spotting fake ID’s? Perhaps we should . Our primary task as a Notary is not to make people feel good, and is not to get the job done either. It is to identify signers and make sure that fraud doesn’t take place. It is better to say “no” rather than to get a Notary job done wrong — hence the name “no”–tary. Otherwise we would be yestaries and the world would go down the tubes.

ID Handbooks
The NNA and other vendors have books going over every state’s identification documents. They can tell you about distinguishing features, new watermarks, and other telltale signs that the ID is genuine.

Jeremy’s Solution — an online ID database
Personally, I think there should be a computer system to let the Notary look you up on a Federal or state database — but, that’s just me.


Things to look for one the ID

(1) Physical Description
Sometimes the physical description doesn’t match the signer. With ladies changing their hairstyle frequently, it is hard to tell their identity.

(2) Mispellings
Then, there could be misspellings in the name or a wrong name variation.

(3) Tampering
Obvious signs of tampering are almost a guarantee of a fake ID. I saw one of those once and only once.

(4) Watermarks
Finally watermarks are used in identification documents and currency to prove authenticity. It is possible, but hard for a fraud to replicate an authentic watermark. In China I’m sure they’ll figure it out as faking things is their specialty. But, for the rest of us it would not be so easy.

(5) Lack of raised lettering
Many of the newer ID’s have raised lettering. However, without a guidebook, you won’t know which states and which identification years of issue have raised letters.

(6) What’s your sign?
Ask the signer their sign. If they are using a fake ID with wrong DOB it will be very difficult for them to immediately recite their sign. You can also ask for their zip code to spot a fraud.


Most Notaries do not inspect ID’s carefully. They just record the information in their journal. Unless something fake is jumping out at them, they will not notice that something is wrong. It pays to get a handbook and become and expert. After all, the whole point of being a Notary is to deter fraud. In my opinion, each state’s Notary division should require all Notaries to be experts at spotting fake ID’s in addition to other critical related skills. Maybe one day technology and training will improve.

Smokey bear says — say no to forest fires. Notary Jer says — say no to fake notary identifications — if you can spot them.

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October 21, 2016

Building a Wall Around Signing Companies


Signing companies are invading our territory. They’re lowering rates for signings, not paying people, and micromanaging the people doing signings.

We will build a wall around these signing companies. And let the signing companies not paying people on time pay for it. The good notaries will make good people sign their legible signatures on the wall. The bad notaries will turn to petty crime and write illegible graffiti on the wall.

In addition to the signing companies, too many new notaries are invading our territory, willing to do twenty dollar signings. They’re killers… of the marketplace by working for cheap. Others are executors… of documents that have something wrong with them. . Others are improperly backdating… Or allowing clients to sign incorrectly… They’re misidentifying people… They’re not administering oaths properly…

We will make notaries great again. They’ll become certified on 123notary.com. They’ll start winning again. Believe me, they’ll get so tired of winning, they’ll start losing their minds just to remember what losing feels like!

We’ll impose a temporary ban on all lousy notaries until we can figure out what the hell is going on. We’ll deport the notaries who aren’t doing their jobs back to where they came from, unless they’re already citizens, in which case we’ll export them to countries we’re not that crazy about. We’ll let them come back legally – by letting a competent notary make them swear they won’t screw things up the next time around.

And when that’s finished, we’ll build a wall around my mouth.

In answer to Bernie Sanders and Pink Floyd… We don’t need no (free) education! All in all it’s just another brick in the wall!

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October 12, 2016

Black Notaries vs. White Notaries — comedy edition

EDDIE GRIFFIN: Man, what’s the difference between white Notaries and black Notaries? I didn’t even know there was such a thing as a Notary until I was 19 and had to get a car title notarized. That was six months after I found out that isn’t is another way of saying ain’t. I would just assume that a bruthah would sign more smoothly than a white Notary.

CHRIS ROCK: In an ideal world, a white Notary would witness signatures, but a black Notary would have a body camera to make sure of what he witnessed.

EDDIE GRIFFIN: You’re making the Notary sound like the Dallas Police force. If I were a black Notary, I’d be more worried about being pulled over by the police. “Registration and Notary seal please, you know the drill.”

CHRIS ROCK: Yeah, but if Notaries were really like police, at loan signings, they would say, “Now reach for your ID, nice and slow — no sudden movements.” while they had the borrowers at gunpoint. I can’t imagine a signing like that — unless it happened in Detroit.

JERRY SEINFELD: And if you did a signing by X, if you knew who the signer had been seeing while married to his ex, then you’d know why she became an ex.

EDDIE GRIFFIN: I don’t think that signing by x is exactly like that, but I’m digging the way you think.

CHRIS ROCK: And by the way — black Notary lives matter, especially if they’re listed on 123notary.

JERRY SEINFELD: But, if you’re signing with an X, you didn’t come from the greatest school, unless you’re Malcolm X.

EDDIE GRIFFIN: With my luck, the minute I became commissioned as a Notary and got in my vehicle, within minutes of leaving the county clerk after taking my Oath, I’d probably get my ass pulled over by the Notary Police — but, for what I don’t know.

POLICE: Do you know how fast you were signing, son? Can I see your Notary Seal Please?

EDDIE GRIFFIN: I just got my Notary commission, I haven’t even used it yet. How come you didn’t pull that white Notary over?

POLICE: We don’t judge a Notary by the color of his ink, but by the content of his character.

EDDIE GRIFFIN: Yeah, you’re a character all right.

POLICE: And by the way, the paper might always be white, but the ink is always black which in my opinion kind of evens the score.

EDDIE GRIFFIN: Yeah, some things ain’t never gonna change.

POLICE: We just wanted to make sure you weren’t notarizing by text and driving at the same time. Just a routine check.

EDDIE GRIFFIN: Yeah, stoppin’ brothers. What could be more routine than that?

JERRY SEINFELD: So, what’s the deal with white Notaries?

CHRIS ROCK: Isn’t that redundant? That’s even whiter than Conan O’Brien’s non-tan lines.

EDDIE GRIFFIN: Man, what is it with white Notaries, ya know what I’m saying? I bet a white Notary would go to a signing in his nice family SUV, and he would park on the street just to be polite. And then he would knock on the door being exactly on time and say, “Hi, my name is Mike — I’m white, and I’m happy and I’ll be your Notary today.” I don’t want to white-wash this, but that’s how I see it.

CONAN O’BRIEN: Yeah, I bet if it were a black Notary he would say, “Hi, I’m Jermaine, and I’m the Notary with the smooth conversation. Check out this alligator skin briefcase. And you’d never believe the story behind it. I was down the street at my brother’s house and his kids were playing in the back yard. Then an alligator came out of nowhere — we live in Florida by the way. I rushed out at ninja speed to get those kids out the yard and got there just in time before that gator damn near bit my nephew’s arm off. Then, I drove home a block away and came back with my samurai sword. I bought it in Tokyo during a vacation and had it shipped to me as a decorative piece. I never dreamed that antique sword from the Mei-Jin period that was used by the great Zatoichi would ever be used again for practical purposes. So, I ran into the backyard with my samurai sword and said — hayyyyyaaa!!!! And I done chopped the gator’s jowels off. I sold the meat to a local taco place and had my neighbor make a briefcase out of it.

And… I got the smoothest pens you ever signed with. They’re like butter. These cost $200 and no — you may not keep them. But, enjoy the signing experience, my stories, and enjoy the ride. By the way — my ride is a stretch limo that I have parked outside. We can continue the signing there if you prefer — drinks included, but not until after you finish signing. And remember — sign responsibly!”

CHRIS ROCK: Yo Conan, you rock!

CONAN O’BRIEN: Ha ha, I’m a brutha with some street knowledge! And by the way, you not only rock, you are a Rock!

EDDIE GRIFFIN: Conan’s a brutha now? What????

JERRY SEINFELD: Black, white, yellow, brown, orange – believe me, none of us are happy.

EDDIE GRIFFIN: Brother, you just made me happy to hear that.


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October 4, 2016

SnapDocs has a new feature for bank auto pay within 30 days

Tired of not getting paid on time? SnapDocs (our competitor) has a new feature which we think is helpful. I’m not sure how the feature is used, but you can arrange that companies will auto-pay you within 30 days. Most Notaries are tired of waiting, and not knowing when they will be paid. To be guaranteed payment, and not even have to deal with checks sounds like a wonderful arrangement. Ken has an even better arrangement which is getting paid Paypal up front.

I wonder how you guys would feel if 123notary had a system where slow paying companies would be denied our future search algorithms? That would eliminate a lot of the bad traffic from 123notary and give you only the best. I’m not sure that would help our site, or help you guys that much, but it would make your lives safer and perhaps more pleasant.

Let me know what you think

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October 1, 2016

How do I do a Signature by X notarization?

How do I do a Signature by X?
How do I do a Signature by Mark?

Signature by X is a relatively simple proceedure normally used for elderly people who are too frail to sign their entire name and who can barely hold a pen. Signature by X requires the use of two subscribing witnesses. The function of a subscribing witness is first to witness the signature of the principle and second, to sign the person’s name next to their X.

Subscribing witness #1 must sign the person’s first name and middle initial (if any) to the left of the X in the Notary journal and on the document.

Subscribing witness #2 must sign the person’s surname to the right of the X on the document and in the Notary journal.

It is also prudent to indicate on the document who the subscribing witnesses are, and perhaps even their driver license information just in case they need to be identified after the signing for any legal reason.

Signature by X is also known as Signature by Mark (which would be a great name for a Notary business if your name was Mark.) If your name is Malcolm X, you also might find the signature by X might be the only way to get yourself notarized. Additionally, if you sign by the x with an X, there might be too many x’s. Just make sure there aren’t three x’s in a row otherwise that would be pornographic.

How much should a Notary charge for a Signature by Mark?
A Notary could charge for the signature of the principle and also might charge an extra fee for the witnesses, although you would have to query your state laws on charging for witnesses, especially if an Oath is involved. To learn more about Signature by Mark, you can get a Notary Law Manual for your state from the NNA or look up the Notary laws on your state notary division’s website!

Find a Notary on 123notary.com to do your Signature by X Notarization!

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