September 2011 - Notary Blog - Signing Tips, Marketing Tips, General Notary Advice -

Notary Blog – Signing Tips, Marketing Tips, General Notary Advice – Control Panel

September 20, 2011

Notary is pushed off stairs by borrower!

Well, I thought I had heard it all.  I hear a lot of wonderful, interesting tales here at 123 from our members. Some are entertaining and funny while others are very sad and depressing. This, unfortunately is one of these stories and unfortunately it is the worst to date. It is nothing short of horrendous and shameful. Although I have her permission to tell her story, I promised her I would not reveal her or the area she lives in. So, here we go…

This particular notary public who is female took a signing from a signing company, she confirmed her appointment, prepared her docs and met her borrower at the the specified time. As she went through the documents, he saw that his interest rate was 1/2 percent more than he had been told. He then became enraged. He requested (using vulgarity) that she leave his home immediately. She packed up her things up and prepared to leave the premises.  As she proceeded to the door the  borrower followed, continuing to rant and rave using foul language incessantly. He was VERY angry with this 1/2 of a percent increase that nobody had bothered to inform him of (sadly, a  story we all are familiar with and have heard many times)  and, to top it to make matters even worse off, the loan officer had not been in contact with him and had been unreachable for several days.

So, as she walked out of the door onto his front porch. There were 4 steps to go down to the walkway that would lead to her car… But, before she could take that first step — with the force of both of his hands on her shoulders he pushed her down and off the porch. She went flying off the porch, and by the grace of God she somehow pivoted her body onto the grass instead of his cemented walkway  that was directly in front of her but unfortunately in trying to break her fall she broke her left wrist. In disbelief and shock she just laid there. The borrower went back into the house and shut and locked his door.  However, fortunately for her, the borrower’s neighbor who was mowing his lawn at the time witnessed the whole thing. He called out to his wife to call the police and the paramedics and he came to her aid and sat with her until they arrived. (A knight in shining armor). The paramedics attended to her and after the police got the story from both the notary and the neighbor one of the officers went to the door of the borrower , rang the bell and the borrower did not answer. At that point the officer yelled out to him to open the door or else. He did eventually open the door, and then was immediately  handcuffed and  placed under arrest and was put in the back of the police car.

Now folks get this — as the paramedics worked on our notary public to prepare her for the trip to the hospital and the police filled out their report the borrower (hand cuffed in the back seat of the police car) was still ranting  and raving non stop with vulgarities that they (the police and paramedics) needed to get this you know what off his grass and property. One of the police officers obviously fed up with this behavior as well as the noise went over to the borrower and told him that he needed to shut up and slammed the car door. He then asked the neighbor if this  behavior was characteristic  of this man. The neighbor and the wife just looked at each other and nodded yes… I just cant believe this man and his behavior, I am still in awe of all of it.

The paramedics said that if she had fallen  onto the concrete instead of the grass she would have broken both wrists and god knows what else in the process. All things  considered she was lucky-it could have been way worse.

She ended up staying in the hospital of 4-5 days instead of the day and half  she was originally told due to an infection she developed in her wrist.

Now it is 1 month later and she is finally back to work. She is healing well I asked her how she felt about her career now (she is a full time  signing agent) and if she felt like giving it up…and she said no way. She says she loves her job and knew this was just something that happened. Kudos to her! She and DA have filed charges and he has 3 counts against him and there will be a civil suit as well. I hope he gets ALL that is coming to him….I say throw the book at him.

Now, of course the signing service that gave her the assignment wants to know why the loan wasn’t closed. Well get this; When she called in to tell them  what had happened from the hospital — the person on the other end of the line laughed and said “you could have come up with a better excuse than that”. So, in order to clear her name she had to send in the police report, hospital records etc….( and yes she did manage to call the day of the signing)

So, all of this leaves me with a few thoughts. I really feel that this could have been avoided if the loan officer had done his job. This is so often the case where the loan officer knows exactly what the numbers are way ahead of time but avoids sharing this information with the borrowers and we go out at the final hour when they know these borrowers are desperate and for the most part are stuck and cant turn back now, and they regrettably just sign. And we get stuck in middle — and in this case — pushed down a flight of stairs. Now some of you will disagree and put up a fuss but this is why when I call and confirm with the borrowers I ask them has the loan officer been in touch and have they gone over the figures with them. If the answer is yes then I ask them what are the numbers supposed to be. This way if the number con-inside with what I see, we are good. If not, I can alert the hiring party that we have a problem before I waste the borrowers time or MINE.  I can avoid problems at the table-situations like the one I just described to you here. (aLthough it is rare and the first time I have heard such of a thing happing it is now a reality that it is possible). This technique does not always work but it is sure worth a try. And it might save you some trouble. I have been doing it for years. Now I know some of you will chew my head off about this technique of mine but this is my business and I run it as I see fit-just as you will run yours as you see fit. But, remember this is for the most part why are economy is shot…to many lies and games being played in the refinance word, and we are usually abandoned and stuck in the middle.

Now, most of you know I preach about your worth and the fees that you charge — this story just reinforces my feeling that you need to be paid what you are worth. I know this is an extreme case but we stick out necks out every time we take an assignment. We NEVER know where our notary public assignments will take us or what we will have to deal with when we get there. We deal with bad attitudes, late documents, traffic, bad neighborhoods, filthy homes, terrible smells, pets, incompetence, etc., and sometimes bad people. So my point is you need to be paid what you are worth. If you continue accepting these low fees that they are offering nowadays not only do you hurt yourself you hurt all of us: the notary community as a whole…..Now in this case a higher fee would not have stopped his unthinkable behavior but I feel that because we deal with so much adversity in this business we need to have our pay more in line with our efforts and the things that we are subjected too. For me, without fair compensation this profession is just not worth the effort or trouble.

Until next time!! BE SAFE!!

Written by Carmen Towles

You might also like:

Part 2 of Notary is pushed of stairs – the sequel!

Power of Attorney at a nursing home

Why notaries don’t last


September 12, 2011

Deceptive Identities – Companies that change their names

Companies that change their names
If you read the forums much, and you are advised to, you will have some idea of what is going on in the notarial world.  Signing agents are being low balled, not paid, strung along, and worse.  Some of the players or characters in this drama either change their company name, or transfer to another company, whose identity is unknown to the notaries as a group. This is very sneaky and deceptive, but the notaries are a fast group to catch on to scams and publish information on the forum.
Moving to a new company
From time to time, notaries will post about this phenominon.  An agent from a signing or title company of a particular name, will leave one company and start working for another company.  A notary, or more than one notary will find out, and post about it on the forum.  Believe me, if Jill at XYZ company didn’t pay you, then the fact she is working for a new outfit won’t make her pay you.  Of course Jill will give you the run around and say that it was out of her control, and that it was up to payroll or accounts payable.  How can you blame Jill for what was out of her hands?  My opinion, based on spiritual knowledge and common sense is that like and like attract.  If you are a screwball, you will be likely to work for screwballs. If you are honest, how long will you stick around with crooks once you figure out who they really are?  So, if the problem is in accounting, I think you are guilty by association.  What do you think? Additionally, how can I be sure that accounts payable calls the shots of who gets paid. In companies with ten or twenty people, it could be anyone. 
Changing company names
Sometimes companies will do business under one name, and then perplex everyone and pick a new name.  Nobody can figure out who they really are anymore. Notaries will tell endless stories on the forums, but there is always confusion, no matter who says what, or when.  I met someone by phone on the East coast who had a small signing outfit who wanted to change their name and enlarge their scope.  I told him to get a unique name, or keep the same name. Don’t fool around with names.  Names are how people know you and identify you.  If you pick the wrong name, you will be confused with crooks for the rest of your career and you will regret it.
Trading places?
Some companies have a similar name to other companies.  The only way to identify the company is by their town.  But, what happens when they move from Irvine to Simi Valley. Then, you completely lose track of who they are.  The confusion is unbearable.  You have to ask them if they “used to be” located in Irvine just to keep them straight.  With my luck, if I’m trying to figure out who a company is, I’ll see all of their various addresses, look them up on google, try to guess which years they were in which place, and then I will find out that they are out of business.
Similar names
How can you keep these companies straight?  I give up. It gets too confusing.
Notary Direct, & Notaries Direct
ASAP Processing, ASAP Settlement, ASAP Loan Docs, ASAP pro notary services & ASAP signing services,
Cal docs notary Vs. California notary and doc signers
California professional signing group, California signature service, California signing services
Central escrow & Central signing service
Doc Pro & Doc Pros
National Title & National titlenet
The bottom line
If a company has a confusing identity, just make sure you get their address.  The address proves who they are, unless they move around a lot.  I would be less inclined to trust a company that moved around too much.  Background check all companies on on your mobile phone and then you will know if they have a good track record.  A good history doesn’t guarantee you payment, but its ten times as safe as working for an unknown company!

(1) Some of the most infamous signing companies in the business changed their names. But, the notaries caught on!
(2) Some signing companies have almost an identical name to other ones. The only way to tell them apart is their address.

You might also like:

Business cards & registered business names

Business licenses & company names


September 7, 2011

What goes WHERE in your notes?

We have close to 7000 notaries, and most of them have written a notes section.  I am always stressing that the length and quality of the notes section strongly effects how many calls you will get.  I recommend a few paragraphs of notes. Browsers want to compare notaries and read through many different profiles before choosing who they will call first. If you leave your notes blank, or only have a few choppy sounding lines of text, I assure you that you will get left behind.    But, there is more.  Experience is very important and should go on top.

What goes at the top?
The first sentence or two of your notes is visable on the search results, and strongly influences readers.  Their decision to click, or not to click is heavily based on the first two lines of notes you wrote, and whether or not you offer 24 hour service, or are certified by  It’s that important!  If you have reviews will strongly effect how many clicks you get too!  People write about many things in their notes sections. They write about their equipment, their coverage areas, types of loans they are familiar with, and experience.  They might also write about professional memberships, jobs they did before they became a notary, and anything else they think will impress or move a potential client.  If you look at all of these various types of information, there is one that triggers a reaction in the reader most, and that is what separates you from the pack: experience.

Put your experience at the top
If you have a lot of experience, that is the single most important trait that a client looks for.  If you are on the white glove list for some well known large company, that makes a huge impression.  If some other notary covers twenty counties and has some great equipment, that means something, but it doesn’t make up for lost experience.  Any fool can purchase expensive equipment, but how many fools have signed 15,000 loans with a 99.9% error free track record?  Any nitwit can sign a Reverse Mortgage (this is valuable experience by the way), but how many nitwits are on the approved list for some major American Title agency and have 20 years of experience? All pertinent information has a value, but there is a hierarchy to which information is the most valuable, and you need to put the most critical selling information (experience) on the top of the list.

What comes next?  Credentials & memberships
3rd party credibility is key to getting work.  If you say you are good and write well, that counts for more than nothing, but not that much more than nothing. If someone else says you are good, that counts more.  People who are already certified by another agency claim that they don’t “need” 123notary certification, however, to get the credibility of the green certification icon you actually DO “need” our certification.  That is 3rd party credibility from an agency who has been very serious about the notary business for 11 years and has 6500 clients.  Having testimonials is another form of 3rd party credibility.  So, writing about your professional memberships and credentials means a lot, and that comes right after experience.

Coverage Areas
Coverage areas comes third ideally. You can write about where you service, and which areas cost extra.

Specialties is fourth
If you want to put specialties as 3rd instead of 4th, it would be about the same.  Telling the world what types of loans you are familiar with is very important.  If you have a long list of impressive types of loans, you might put it higher on the list just to make an impression. If your specialties are very run of the mill doing refinances and reverse mortgages, etc., then put it third or fourth on the list.

Equipment & Insurance
Equipment can really make a difference and set you apart from the rest of the locals.  However, it is not quite as important as the other things I mentioned unless you have a very impressive mobile office which makes you one in a thousand.  If you have slightly above average equipment, you can mention it at the bottom just to be thorough.  E&O insurance can be put in the equipment section.  If you have a million dollars of E&O, then maybe put it in the first line to knock people’s flip flops off.  If you have been background screened or listed with the BBB, that could go here too.

Other information
If you want to talk about identification, legal considerations, or your unwillingness to give legal advice, put it here.  Parting notes should come here at the bottom as well.  I usually discourage discussing details of your rate structure, but that would be good at the bottom as well.

Here are some interesting things people put in their notes that stood out.

Keep in mind that some of the individuals offering these services are attorneys.

Adoptions; Probate; Preparation of Wills; Trusts;  Movie set notarizations; Constructions loans; Foreclosures; Medical power of attorney.;  Car title Affidavits; Durable powers of attorney;  Time-Share docuements; Rental Property Agreements; e-signings; Inspections; Debt Consolidation;  Courthouses; prisons; hospitals; Balloon mortgages.

You might also like:

Notary Marketing 102 – Your Notes Section

How to write a notes section if you have no experience

Excerpts from great notes sections