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May 3, 2018

Letter to Florida Notary Division

Filed under: Florida Notary — Tags: — admin @ 10:13 am

Dear Florida Notary Division,
I run 123notary and am constantly made aware of the sloppy behavior of the Notaries that you commission. I will remind you that the purpose in having Notaries Public in the first place is to ensure the integrity of transactions done via signed documents. The Notary makes sure the correct person signed the document, fills out forms, keeps records, administers Oaths, and upholds the law regarding Notary Public. Based on my quiz results for many Florida Notaries: Florida Notaries do not normally keep proper records, rarely administer correct Oaths, and do not have a clear idea of the laws affecting their work in many cases. Below are my comments and suggestions.

1. Journal Thumbprints.
A journal thumbprint is a piece of biometric evidence that Notaries should keep in their journal. The reason is that the FBI can catch identity thieves that steal people’s assets a lot more easily with thumbprints. Florida recommends against Notaries keeping thumbprints which essentially stifles the FBI. Florida is afraid that the Notaries will not be reputable custodians of biometric data and therefore recommends that they do not take the evidence to begin with. This tells me that the following MIGHT be true:

(a) Florida might desperately want to assist identity thieves in having open season in Florida, and wants to make sure that identity thieves not only can defraud hard working citizens, but that the rights to privacy of identity thieves will be honored at the expense of the safety of society, borrowers, signers, and Notaries by recommending against taking journal thumbprints. Ludicrous! The State of Florida might want to make sure that identity thieves will be protected from being caught and wants to deter the justice system from having adequate evidence to book these very dangerous white collar criminals.

(b) Florida commissions Notaries in a position of trust and integrity equivalent to that of police, attorneys, judges and government workers, yet doesn’t trust them to safeguard a thumbprint. Either you trust them or you shouldn’t commission them. Maybe you should spend more time figuring out who is trustworthy and who is not. Since 90% of your Notaries cannot administer an Oath correctly (which is the notarial equivalent of tying your shoes), I would consider weeding your database of the Notaries who refuse to know how to do their job. Or you could resort to actually training your Notaries and screening them a little better.

(c) The State of Florida is confused and doesn’t realize how stupid they are being by safeguarding society’s most dangerous criminals by discouraging Notaries from keeping journals and taking journal thumbprints. Discouraging journal thumb printing is similar in essence to discouraging wearing seat belts or condoms. Notaries might not get Aids, or break their ribs, but they could end up in court or jail as a result of this stupidity.

2. Journals
For the Notary’s safety, their notarial journal is their only hard evidence in court of what they did as a Notary on a particular date, or assignment as well as what they did NOT do should their seal be stolen, copied, or forged. By not requiring a journal for notarial acts you are endangering the public, Notaries, and their clients. There are many types of crimes that can be committed without a paper trail since you don’t require journals. The Notaries you have commissioned are mostly very lazy and negligent people who would prefer to spent an hour arguing with me about how journals aren’t required by their state so that they can save a few minutes each time they commit a Notary act. By not requiring journals you are encouraging people to be reckless. Additionally, one might argue that you as a state and as Notaries for that state are aiding and abetting criminals by not keeping proper records of highly sensitive transactions.

I give these Notaries the lecture about how California requires seat belts where India does not require having or wearing a seat belt in your vehicle. If you get into an accident in India, will you be any less injured since seat belts aren’t legally required? If an identity thief imposters you in Florida and steals the equity out of someones’ apartment complex, will you be in any less in trouble with the FBI in Florida simply because your state is too foolish to require you to keep adequate evidence of all transactions?

The reality is that the FBI has investigated many of the Notaries listed on 123notary.com. Many of the Notaries kept thumbprints in their journal which was a huge boon to the FBI. However, I heard that those without proper evidence are routinely accused of collaborating with frauds. Does the State of Florida really want their Notaries ending up in court or jail simply because they are too stubborn or stupid to require a simple journal? Millions of dollars of assets are on the line in each day of Notary work doing loan signings and you don’t even require a single record of the transactions conducted? Even third world countries are not this foolish.


My suggestions are as follows:

1. Be more careful appointing Notaries. Give preference to those who have held government jobs or highly responsible jobs in the past.

2. Have an IQ test and a meticulousity test to make sure Notaries are logical enough to make legal distinctions necessary to perform the duties of Notary Public. Many errors Notaries make are due to logic errors and scrambled thinking. Notaries also need to show they are adept at conducting themselves in a step by step manner doing paperwork otherwise they will not do good work filling out their Notary forms. You should test this before you put them through school otherwise you will be wasting their time.

3. Have a two day live seminar with hands on training. One day is not enough in my experience.

4. Test on Notary laws as well as on hands on procedure

5. Require Notarial journals and orthodox journal entry creation which means one entry per person per document notarized and no short cuts.

6. Require Journal thumbprints for Deeds affecting real property, Powers of Attorney, and transactions done with Credible Identifying Witnesses.

7. Check up on your notaries from time to time to make sure they are maintaining proper legal standards for your state.

8. Have a minimum fee of $25 per appointment for Notaries public plus $25 minimum travel fee as well as a minimum waiting fee for hospital, jail and other jobs that require more than ten minutes of waiting. Travel fees should be paid in cash at the door by law to discourage clients from manipulating the notary into committing illegal acts under the duress that the Notary will not be paid his/her travel fee if he/she doesn’t cooperate in some illegal act. Higher fees will give you a higher supply of higher level people which will be helpful when you weed out the incompetent Notaries in your state.

9. If you have fewer Notaries in the state, it will be easier to keep an eye on them. I recommend having roughly 25% of your current number of Notaries to ensure adequate quantity without sacrificing on quality!

Thank you
Jeremy Belmont
123notary manager


November 28, 2011

Florida notaries with complaints

Notary Public Florida: a complaint story
Here is a complaint from soneone who used a particular Florida notary:

This is the first time we have used this Florida notary public for a closing. The Notary made a mistake on the documents where she had the borrower date everything 5/7/2011 instead of 7/5/2011 which was a notary mistake that ended up costing the broker $1000.00. Two weeks after the closing the notary called the title company directly demanding her payment of the full signing fee because she had bills to pay. She threatened to sue everyone involved with the transaction even though we were the company that hired her. This Notary was very unprofessional. The Notary was paid at 30 days by our company.
The notary claims that the borrower signed the dates incorrectly and that she asked the borrowers to put the correct date, but they refused.  Then, the Florida notary claimed that the borrower wouldn’t sign where it said borrower, because she considered herself to be the co-borrower. Additionally, the notary claims that the borrower was very rude and condescending to her. The notary claims that she spent two hours at the signing and that the borrower couldn’t read the small print and wouldn’t cooperate. It is hard to know who is right or wrong here.  Was this a notary mistake or just the borrower acting crazy — or both?
The bigger issue is that the notary threatened to sue everyone before her payment was even late. It is professional to allow people 45 days to make payment before you start making legal threats.  Also, suing someone for $60 doesn’t really make sense in the real world.
Another Florida notary public wrote a complaint about 123notary.
The notary was late confirming her listing, and I called the notary to see if she was still alive and in business.  We have notaries move, quit, and end up in the hospital, and die all the time without even informing us. If I ever die, I will have the consideration to inform everyone within (5) business days. In any case, I called this Florida notary’s phone, and her message stated that she was no longer doing loan signings.   I assumed from this message that she was out of business as a mobile notary — boy was I wrong.  Rather than contacting me and politely informing me that she was still in business, she started slandering us on forums telling the world about the horrible crime that we had commited by temporarily removing her listing.    She created all types of drama over nothing.  I think that her MISLEADING phone message should have stated that she is still doing mobile notary work, but not doing loan signings.  That way, anyone calling her about work would have a clear impression that she was still in business. I hate being blamed for other people’s bad communication skills. People need to take responsibility for their own incompetent actions.  In any case, her listing went right back on the minute she asked me to reinstate her.  Unfortunately for her, I documented her zany behavior in the review section.  I stated that she committed no acts of misconduct, but created an unnecessary drama over nothing!  This case was  a business mistake on her part, not a notary mistake, but it is still ridiculous!

You might also like:

California notaries with complaints

I make mistakes too


November 3, 2010

The Florida Notary issues and quirks

Florida Notary Issues and oddities

Understanding a document
A Florida notary public is NOT required to be able to read all documents being notarized by them, but the signer must be able to read the document. The document must either be in English, or a language the signer can read. This is differently worded from many other states. In California, the notary must be able to communicate directly with the signer, but does not need to understand the contents of the document, nor do the contents need to be in English.

Foreign language signers
The notary must be able to communicate directly with the signer without the help of an interpreter in California. So, if the signer brings their children along to help translate, the notary must decline the job unless direct communication is possible. But, in Florida, the statutes do not specify that the notary and signer must be able to directly communicate, but specify that the signer must have the document translated into a language they understand in order to qualify to get their signature acknowledged.

Verifying a VIN #.
Another unusual official act of a Florida notary is to be able to verify a VIN number on a vehicle. The maximum charge for this is $10 per notary act.

Drafting documents
Other states simple forbid notaries from engaging in legal advice, but don’t spell out exactly what legal advice could consist of. A notary public in Florida is expressly forbidden from drafting any type of document for a client — both legal documents and less formal documents. A legal document is often described of one that might be used in court or submitted to a judge or attorney. Additionally, a Florida notary must not fill in blank spaces in documents as that also constitutes unauthorized practice of law or legal advice in FL.

The Florida Notary Manual page 58 states that a Florida Notary should only sell legal forms and type up documents written by their customers.

A notary in Florida may sign on the behalf of a person with a disability if the disabled person requests. Nobody has ever mentioned any rule like this before on any of our forums.

Notarizing for minors
The state of Florida allows notaries to notarize for minors and should ideally document the minor’s age next to their signature.

A notary may not notarize for an individual who doesn’t seem capable of understanding the meaning of the document being notarized.

Marriages – I do!
Florida notaries may solemnize marriages if the couple provides a marriage certificate. ME, NH, and SC, plus one parish in LA are the only other states we have heard of that allow notaries to conduct marriages, but they need a special extra license in NH to the best of our knowledge. The notary may make up their own verbiage for the marriage, and then complete an official certificate for the marriage.