January 2014 - Notary Blog - Signing Tips, Marketing Tips, General Notary Advice - 123notary.com

Notary Blog – Signing Tips, Marketing Tips, General Notary Advice – 123notary.com Control Panel

January 28, 2014

When the Phone does not Ring

It happens to all of us. Some more frequently than others; the dreaded “Zero Day.” Anyone who has notary work every day is either the “Company Notary” or works at the office of the County Clerk. No independent notary has work every day, nor should they. True, you need to earn money; but you also have a life and need to relax now and then. After accounting for your personal life, with excess unwanted “Zero Days” – it’s possible to make very good use of that time.

A Zero Day is an excellent time to take an in-depth look at your “go” kit. Is your notary stamp clean and clear; perhaps a bit more ink on the pad would make a nicer and darker impression. Do you have a good stock of pens? Take them apart and look inside at the ink level. It’s ugly when the ink runs out in the middle of your signature. How about your supply of forms? You have been using them, is it time to add some more to your kit? It’s also a good time to take a look at your receivables; a gentle reminder after 30 days might be in order.Grow your business. Are you resting on your tail feathers expecting business by doing nothing?

Those good clients you had might now have an in-house notary and not call again. Marketing is a never ending task. You must get the word out to potential clients that you exist. Get a map of your local neighborhood and systematically distribute business cards. Do NOT call or email trying to drum up business – most people resent that. Most of all do not fax!

Expand your skills. Do you know how to handle every possible situation? No matter how good you “think” you are there is room for improvement. Many sites offer training courses that are beyond the basics, find them and register. For no cost there is the internet, a vast resource of training and techniques. There is also the library. Knowledge does not have to cost an arm and a leg; but it does “cost” effort on your part. Sitting in front of your TV will not cut it.

Do some preventative maintenance on your printer. When it fails, do you really want to go to Kinkos to print that 300 page set of edoc? Order that spare ink or toner; add a few reams of both letter and legal to your supplies. In addition to your existing hardware, investigate adding a scanner or perhaps a faster fax machine to your inventory. Don’t forget the computer. It will run faster if you regularly defragment the hard drive. Is that hard drive filling up with stuff that you should have deleted long ago? Look at the options for a newer phone and phone plan; steep discounts are out there for those willing to change service providers and learn a new phone.

Now for the tough issue: when it does ring. Let’s say the caller is a world class lowballer who is offering the notary 65$ for an edoc 50 miles away. Yup, it has fax backs, and they said it’s “somewhat large” with 4 people signing. Do you leap at the opportunity – happy to have “some” revenue? You know it’s not worth doing, but that 65$ sounds better than another Zero Day. Don’t fall for it. In the long run you will be much better off doing the tasks cited earlier in this blog.

(1) A day w/no calls is an opportunity to re-ink your seal, call the clients u haven’t heard from in 60 days & rest.
(2) A dead day is a great opportunity to do some maintenance on your printer. Buy a new toner, etc.
(3) If you are offered $65 to print 300 pages and go far away, take the day off instead & catch up on other things.
(4) Do you ever have a day when the phone just doesn’t ring w/customers? Time to catch up w/errands.

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January 22, 2014

We caught a bunch of frauds using notary verbiage

For most notaries, Notary verbiage is a cause for annoyance or confusion. Due to the poor quality of notary education in most states, notaries simply don’t know how to cross out the is/are and the unused “s” in signature(s) in the boiler plate notary wording. You can easily catch an amateur notary in the act or after the fact simply by looking at their cross outs. You can look at their journal of notarial acts and see if they are taking liberties or making omissions there too.

My notary seal impression was used fraudulently once. No, the notary seal was not stolen (don’t panic), it was just xeroxed with a high quality xerox machine onto another document that needed to be notarized in a hurry. The crime was actually done by a young lady working at a Title Company who made little circles to dot her i’s. Very post high school and ditsy if you ask me. The signature didn’t look at all like mine. But, besides all of these other stupidities, their fraud was easy to catch because they didn’t do their cross-outs in the Notary verbiage section! Additionally, they didn’t use an embosser to emboss every single page with a raise impression which cannot be xeroxed — which is exactly why I used it. If they had been more sophisticated frauds, my embosser would have been my only recourse to prove them guilty.

To my good fortune (or bad luck) I was never called into court to act as a witness. I don’t believe that the bad guys were seriously punished. Maybe they were reprimanded and promised never to do it again. A Title company could get completely shut down for that type of fraud if the right authorities ever found out. Don’t they value their future? Maybe not!

So, the moral of the story for you guys is to take your Notary verbiage seriously. That is what makes your profession a profession, and your ability to handle Notary wording defines your level of expertise.

(1) Due to the poor quality of notary education, notaries often don’t know how to cross out is/are, (ies), etc.
(2) A young lady who worked in title and made cute circles to dot her i’s Xeroxed my notary seal!
(3) Take your notary verbiage seriously, it might be the only thing that distinguishes you from a fraud!
(4) My notary seal was used fraudulently once! It was Xeroxed!

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January 21, 2014

Affidavit of Support and direct communication with the signer

Filed under: Affidavits — Tags: , , — admin @ 12:10 am

As a former Notary Public, my favorite type of notarization was for Affidavits of Support. It was not the actual document that I enjoyed. It was the hospitality that accompanied the job which normally included various types of Asian cuisine! I’m not particular. I like pot stickers, fried rice, and rad-na! It’s all good. To do a good job doing an Affidavit of Support Notary job, you need to know how to place your stamp in a very tight area in a form and know how to administer an Oath. But, what if your signer doesn’t know English that well?

State notary public laws vary from state to state. One of the largest discrepancies is how to deal with foreign language documents and foreign language speakers. Some states require direct communication between the notary and the signer. That means that no translators or interpreters are allowed. Even if you know very little of the signer’s language or vice-versa, that might be enough to get through a notarization procedure.

Remember — notary appointments require very little actual communication. You need to ask if the signer understands the document. You need to instruct the signer where to sign the document and your journal. You need to be able to negotiate fees. You need to be able to administer an Oath in their language. You could easily learn to do Oaths in five languages without any linguistic talents to speak of! Just for the record, I used to give Oaths in Chinese and Spanish. I know relatively little Spanish although I can chatter for hours in Chinese with my acupuncturist.

And what if the document is written in a different language? Since an Affidavit of Support is a U.S. Immigration Document, it would be in English. But, what if your signer has some other documents in Chinese Calligraphy to have notarized? Does your state allow you to notarize those documents if you don’t know the language? And what if the signer’s signature is in Chinese Characters? OMG! Or perhaps I should say MSG!

Although some states allow the use of an interpreter, doing notary work is critical, and is a way to preserve and protect the integrity of signatures and Oaths. I personally feel that regardless of what your state laws say, be on the safe side and learn to communicate directly with whomever you notarize. After all, an unknown and/or un-certified interpreter could make a mistake which could cause a heap of trouble! Know your state’s laws before you go out on a notary job!

(1) As a former notary, my favorite type of notarization was for Affidavits of Support because the hospitality that accompanied.
(2) If you specialize in notarizing Affidavits of Support, you might get pot stickers, fried rice, and cash tips.
(3) How do you deal with foreign language docs & foreign language speakers w/o breaking state laws?
(4) Many states don’t allow the use of an interpreter — and this law is not open to interpretation!


January 18, 2014

You could get sued if you don’t have a business license

Legally, you might need to get a business license
Did you just get your Notary Commission? Good for you! Do you want to start a business doing notarizations? unlikely unless you have gotten huge without a business license. However, there is a small chance that someone else might register that business name somewhere in your state or county and sue you for damages. After all, you were Legally, you might need to get a business license. But, most notaries don’t get one until they want to use a particular business name. Some even advertise in the yellow pages without having a registered business name. What is the risk in not doing so? Will the state government come crashing down on you? That is using THEIR business name and they could claim to have lost money!

Changing or removing your business name
The problem is that once you put your business name in print on the internet or in printed advertising, you might find it very difficult to get change it or remove it. Google keeps a cache of old pages for months as well, so that information you posted on the internet could haunt you long after you remove it!

Notary Business names that change every month?
We have notaries on 123notary who change their business name every month. Each time it is a different variation. In October it is MG Notary Service, and then it changes to MG Properties, and then in December it is Mary’s Notary & Apostille. Which one is it? Notaries cannot change their personal or business name on our site without my intervention. But, when I see that they are changing their business name every month, I begin to think that “perhaps” their business name is not really registered, and that they don’t have business licenses. Hmmm. Once I asked someone to send me proof of their business license and they sent me a copy of a newspaper ad they had used to publish their business name. The text was different sizes and on different lines, and I couldn’t tell which part of the name was commentary and which part was the name on their business license. Good God!

Be safe and get registered
It is better to think long and hard about what your business name should be. Then, register your business name, and get a company bank account. Then you can advertise, and do business as a DBA without “as much” risk of being sued due to your business name. There can always be some clown who still wants to make trouble with you who has that same business name registered in another county, but if you are playing by the rules, it will be harder for someone to question the legitimacy of your business name and probably less likely that they can sue you for “business name infringement”. Your name on your notary commission is registered, why shouldn’t your business name as well?

(1) Did you just get your notary commission? Good! You need to get a business license now.
(2) Once your business name is registered & in print, it is not easy to change it. Think it over first.
(3) We have notaries on 123notary who change their business name every month. Doesn’t sound very legal.
(4) You might be held liable for “business name infringement” if you don’t register your biz name.

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January 15, 2014

Jeremy’s bucket list

Filed under: General Stories — Tags: — admin @ 2:50 am

Jeremy’s Bucket List

I’m too young to think about dying, but when I look at the state of the world, and the notary industry, I think about it more. Will the world last another ten years? And if so, what condition will it be in? So, I have decided to make a bucket list. I might as well live while I can!

(1) Meditate in the Himalayas
I’ve actually already been to the Himalayas, but I went to the “wrong” part, if there is such a thing. I went to Darjeeling, while I should have gone to Dehradun which is 600 miles NW of where I went. I went sight seeing in Darjeeling, Sikkim, and Kalimpong. It was very enjoyable, especially seeing the

sunrise at 4:15 am with a view of Mount Kanchenzhonga. Yeah, hard to pronounce — even harder to wake up at 3:30 am. There is light there even at 3 am. Not sure how that is possible according to the always of physics. But, the mountains in India have their own laws. I saw 12 Buddhist temples last time, heard the chanting, horns, the whole enchilada.

(2) Get out of the Himalayas without dysentery
Getting there is time consuming and expensive. Not getting a gastro-intestinal disease requires having a blessing from the gods — of which there are many in the mountains. If you see those mountains that are 25,000 feet, you will quickly realize that the valleys between the snow-capped peaks are the playgrounds of the gods.

(3) Stop having dreams about being a mobile notary
It happens all to often. I’ll be trying to have a peaceful night’s sleep, and then it happens. I have one of those dreams that I am late to a mobile notary appointment in Vernon, CA. Come on! I haven’t been a notary since 2005, when will these dreams stop. I think I need to see my psychic and have him come up with a fool-proof plan to stop these dreams. I also have dreams that my notary seal expired, but I am still using it. That is the worst recurring dream of all that I have..

(4) Start a travel blog
Yes, I’m starting that in a few weeks with any luck. Wish me well. It will be about local and overseas travel, plus some silly articles about life and the universe that will hopefully get a few chuckles.

(5) Taste better wines
Whenever I go to wine tastings — which is not that often, the wines are not expensive ones. I want to taste some classy wines for once in my life. Do I have to fly to Bordeaux, or drive to Napa to make this happen? Will I even like these pricey wines? The Sake museum in Tokyo was also on my list of things to do. I just wonder what it is like in real life over there.

(6) Travel to Australia mate
I love Australians, and would love to see the geographical marvels of their huge and expansive country. If you go on Google, you can see pictures of their National Parks. Each park is completely different from the others. There are deserts, jungles, beautiful mountains, breathtaking shorelines, and more!

(7) Start a haunted Halloween attraction
My idea was to have real ghosts at mine. I’m tired of these cheap thrill, having some minimum wage high school drop out chase people around with a chainsaw. I want the real deal damn it! I want holograms, sounds that give you the chills, and more!

(8) Visit Bali and go to the Safari zoo, the beach, try local cuisine and hike in the National Parks. Bali has tons of attractions, and prices are really low.

(9) Find a good manager who can take over the day to day responsibilities of running 123notary.com. Sure, I’ll still technically “oversee”, but the other person would have to do most of the work, emails, management, a few decisions, etc.

(10) Find out what the mystery spice is in Colonel Sander’s recipe is. 11 herbs and spices — hmm… I bet that mystery spice is from some remote island in Indonesia. Maybe one of the village elders knows what the secret spice is!

Then, my life will be complete, and I will be ready to die. Or at least when I do die, I will say, “It’s okay, I did all the things I wanted to do!”

(1) I’ve actually already been to the Himalayas, but I went to the “wrong” part if there is such a thing.
(2) #Himalayas Not getting a gastro-intestinal disease requires a blessing from the Gods.
(3) I keep having a recurring dream that I am late to a notary appointment in Vernon
(4) My life goal is to figure out what the mystery spice is in KFC’s recipe.

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January 13, 2014

Honey, I notarized the kids (don’t try this at home)

We were expecting a notary
It was about nine o’clock. We were expecting a notary at the house to do a refinance. My wife Molly had been away all week. It was an investment property and Molly did not need to be here to sign. The kids would just not go to sleep…

“Why can’t we watch TV anymore?” Joey whined.

“Because someone is coming. Someone from the bank is coming to see us…”

“Who? Do I have to be good? Do I have to stay in my room?”

Joey started chasing Milly around the house… “Joey! Milly! STOP THAT– stop running or the notary monster will notarize you!”

“What’s ‘notarize’? Who does that? What is it?” Milly squeaked.

“The notary has this big clamp. He puts it on the paper we are signing… and if you are not good, he will clamp you with it, too. And it will hurt!”

Joey jumped up and tried to touch the lamp hanging from the ceiling. At that moment, the bulb popped…

“That’s IT!!! You’re done!!!” I yelled. Just then the doorbell rang.

The Notary arrives
I opened the door. It was Mr. Eugene the notary. He was about 5′ tall, with black hair streaked with gray…and he had dark inky circles around his eyes. He carried a notary bag and walked with a limp toward the table. “I’m Mr. Eugene,” he pointed out.

“Eugene– great to meet you. We are going to whip through these documents…but we might also want to notarize these kids,” I winked. But let’s do the signing first.”

We did whip through the documents. He was a thorough notary, and seemed very intent on every detail. When we were done, I asked, “May I see you in my office here?” I led the way…

Would you wear this mask?
I shut the door so we would have a moment away from the kids. “I sort of threatened the kids; they’re really being bad this week… Would you help me ? I made this stamp out of this cardboard…and this costume…I’m going to–would you wear this mask? It will look really scary…”

“I really shouldn’t do this… ” he looked blank.

I decided then and there to be the notary monster myself.
I had cut up an inkpad (I had one from my clerical days) and made a cardboard stamp that read “notarized.” The stamp was 6″ across and looked scary…especially when I inked it up with black ink. I put on the two-headed black monster mask, adjusted it, put on the cloak, grabbed the seal… Mr. Eugene followed me out of the room. He looked worried.

“Where are you kids?” I bellowed in a strange, foreign, angry voice. The stamp said notarized backwards turned like a mirror image…

“No! NO!” yelled the kids, running away from me…” I caught them just as they were headed into the garage… and stamped each of them on their foreheads…then all over their arms and legs…

Just then the phone rang…
Just then the phone rang. It was my wife, Molly. “Honey, I notarized the kids.”

“What do you mean?” she asked. I heard the door slam. It was Mr. Eugene.

“I’ll explain later… I can explain… Don’t call the police.”

(1) Kid: “Do I have to be good?” Mom: “Stop running or that Notary monster will notarize you!”
(2) The stamp said “notarized” backwards turned like a mirror image. The kids were terrified.
(3) I decided then and there to be the notary monster myself.
(4) The notary has this big clamp, and if you’re not good, he’ll clamp you with it, and it will hurt!
(5) I cut up an ink pad and made a cardboard box that read “notarized” backwards like a mirror image.
(6) Frank: “Honey, I notarized the kids.”
Molly: “What do you mean?”
Frank: “I’ll explain later, don’t call the police!”


January 12, 2014

I go over the HUD-1 first

I go over the HUD-1 First

Some notaries public start the loan at the beginning and go in the order that the documents are in. Ninja notaries call this following the order of the universe. But, other notaries public start with the HUD-1 Settlement Statement first. It is sometimes helpful to go over the most critical figures in the loan. That way if there is a problem, you will know at the very beginning.

On the other hand, you could call the borrower up before you leave your home and go over the numbers. That way you can stop a bad signing right before it even starts! That is sort of like reading the weather report online before you drive two hours to the beach. After all, do you want to go to the beach while it is raining?

One of our notaries public likes to go over the bottom of the 3rd page of the HUD and get to the really critical information first. To each their own. Just remember — either follow the order of the universe or follow your own inner order (if you have one). Good luck!

Think ahead — go over the HUD-1 Settlement Statement

(1) Some notaries start the loan at the beginning and go in the order the docs are in.
(2) You could call the borrower up before you leave your home & go over the numbers
(3) One of our notaries likes to go over the bottom of the 3rd page of the HUD & get to the critical info 1st.


January 6, 2014

Can a Notary notarize a Will or Living Will?

To make it quick and simple — Yes, a Notary can notarize signatures on a Will, although it is generally discouraged unless given written instructions by an Attorney. Wills are normally witnessed, but not notarized. But then, why be normal?

Can a notary witness a Will?
YES, a Notary can witness the signing of any document. However, it is discouraged for a notary to be involved in any transaction as a witness or Notary where they might have beneficial interest or financial interest! If the notary benefits in any way from a Will being signed or is closely related to a beneficiary, they could be said to have beneficial interest. Anybody eighteen years of age or older who can sign their own name and watch someone else sign can be a witness to a will. It is that simple!

Can a notary draft a Will?
Document drafting might be considered part of the practice of law in your state. You can ask your state bar association if a Notary can draft a document, or if a notary can draft a legal document. The answer is most likely no. Unless you are trained and authorized, I would stay away from document drafting of legal documents since it is so sensitive!

Then who can draft a Will?
Ask an Attorney to help you draft a Will. Ask the Attorney if the Will should be notarized or only witnessed. The witnesses of the Will can also be notarized by the way!

What about a Living Will?
Living Wills are typically very long documents drafted by Attorneys who specialize in Health Care legal documents. Health Care Power Of Attorney documents are close relatives of Living Wills. Living Wills are typically notarized and often need a notarization in the middle of the document as well as at the end of the potentially dozens of pages.

Can a notary notarize a Living Will?

How about a Dying Will or a Won’t? Or a Living Will that doesn’t have a pulse! I know a Notary who is dying to notarize a Won’t with or without instructions from an Attorney!

(1) Yes, Notary can notarize signatures on a Will, although it is generally discouraged w/o written instructions from an Attorney.
(2) Document drafting may or may not be considered practicing law in your state. Ask the Bar Association.
(3) The difference between a regular Will and a Living Will is that the latter has a pulse.

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January 5, 2014

Fear of Retaliation in the Notary Business

Fear of Retaliation in the Notary Business

What are you afraid of?
What’s the worst thing that could happen?
Being reported to the Secretary of State?
Being blacklisted by ALL signing companies forever?
Being sued for libel and lose your house? — and then need a notary to refinance your new and smaller house?

Sorry, we interrupt this program.
The Palestinians & Israelis will have to wait.
The peace talks will have to be postponed
Sherry was accused of misusing her notary commission!
All television shows in the United States, Canada, and Great Britain will be put on hold while Sherry’s misdoings are discussed. Sherry backdated a Deed of Trust in a loan signing, so that the couple signing the loan wouldn’t lose their house. Now Sherry is losing her notary commission. The notary division is revoking her commission forever. For more details, look in the sky as the Notary Blimp will have the details about Sherry.

But, there is more!
Another notary wrote that Irvine Signing Company didn’t pay her on time! Gulp?
Irvine Signing Company reads the forums and blogs and found out that Suzanne wrote something about them.
Now, Suzanne is blacklisted and will never work for Irvine Signing Company again, or any of their affiliates.

We are not encouraging notaries to take this lightly. But, many Title and Signing companies do read the forums.
They might not retaliate against you like you so fear, but they might stop using you if you make an unprofessional show of yourself on any forum. So, if you plan on being unprofessional, don’t use your real name, or any evidence that could lead to your identity being unveiled. Title Companies really are watching. Fear of retaliation does have some sort of a basis.

As for the Secretary of State — sometimes they retaliate too, although it is very unpredictable. If you commit a serious crime or fraud where there are real victims who have suffered large losses, then you will get in big trouble for sure. If you do smaller acts of fraud like backdating, then it is less clear if they will catch up to you. But, why take a chance? Play by the rules. Don’t get retaliated against!

Now, back to the peace talks
Ahmed: “I feel very strongly that the security of Israel must be respected, but our claims to our ancestral lands MUST be respected as well.”
Shimon: “Your land, it is always YOUR land, according to the Torah, it says 3427 times that the land of Israel is OUR land.”
Ahmed: “Do you have a deed to the land? And was it notarized?”
Shimon: “I don’t know, why don’t you ask Sherry or Suzanne?”
Ahmed: “Can’t we all just get along?”
Shimon: “Yes, but first I want to see what this blimp is saying about Sherry”

(1) What is the worst thing that could happen to you as a signer? Being blacklisted by ALL signing companies forever?
(2) The peace talks will have to be postponed: Sherry was accused of misusing her notary commission!
(3) Moishe: “The land belongs to Israel.” Fouzi: “Do you have a notarized Deed to prove it?”

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