April 2015 - Notary Blog - Signing Tips, Marketing Tips, General Notary Advice - 123notary.com
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April 30, 2015

JOBS: More jobs, less jobs, taking jobs away, taking bigger cut of money from jobs

Filed under: Ken Edelstein — Tags: , , — admin @ 10:47 am

Did you ever look up at the sky on a hot July night and wish for snow? That’s exactly the same approach some notaries use to “grow” their business. Wishing won’t cut it. It’s not as if you do not know what needs being done. It’s just that sloth sets in, sometimes followed by despair. This leads to the self fulfilling prophecy of anger, bad attitude (you can’t mask it – all can sense it) and poor job performance. You can have more jobs, you just have to work for them – the basic step of distributing a business card is cheap and effective. Have you placed a few dozen in the right hands of prospective, currently non-clients? Probably not. DO IT, the ROI is fantastic, get more calls!

Speaking of ROI (Return on Investment), sometimes “less jobs”; or, to be more accurate; the selective acceptance of Notary jobs is the best path. With the exception of some notaries, no reasonable business owner accepts every offer. Try walking into Burger King and offering a buck for a Whopper! Carefully consider the offer. Is it profitable? Will you have to expend a great deal of time and effort for “chump change”? Just say no. If you, really implemented paragraph one above, the calls are coming in. You will not have the time to accommodate El Cheepo, especially considering the additional requirements; and the difficulty of collection.

The vast majority reading these words are competitors – we do not cooperate much with other notaries in our area. Sure, there are some exceptions – but each and every one of you wish someone in your area retired. But chances are they will continue to lowball, and the folks at El Cheepo will tell you that they have many others eager to do the Notary job. They are taking away jobs that you do not want; don’t let it bother you. You are smarter than the lowball acceptor – you have clients who pay a fair wage for your perfection. I get many lowball offers from the bottom fishers, the calls tend to be brief after I mention that my non-negotiable fee is about double their offer. You can also receive many “Tier One” calls; those are the jobs where you are doing the “taking away”. They are not offered to those in the computer as being “White Glove fee” acceptors.

Finally, there is the issue of taking a bigger cut of money from Notary jobs. Bigger Cut? Well, that’s just another way of saying the “P” word. Profit. Some almost seem to whisper that word, after looking over their shoulder, lest someone notice. The bigger cut is what remains in your pocket after all, and I do mean all; expenses, costs, taxes, etc., are deducted from the “R” word – Revenue. Oh, you majored in accounting? Then you can just use Gross for Revenue and Net for Profit. I will stick to P and R. Obviously, you want more R, without R there can’t be P. Your true goal is to have a very large Profit, expenses drain money from Revenue.

So now you are thinking the Ps and Rs are obvious, and you are right. So I ask why some of you are accepting a 75$ edoc that requires: printing 300 pages, driving 150 miles, tolerating endless cell minutes of checkup, faxing everything; and allowing someone else to have the USE of your money for an extended period of time? “If I don’t accept it they might not call me again”. “You have to take the bad with the good”. “Some money is better than no money”. If those reasons were valid Burger King would have given you the Whopper for a dollar. The reasoning is flawed.

You can and should do better. Your notary commission is a valuable asset; and your time + your skill is even more valuable. One of the wiser posters on the forum has a signature that includes: If you don’t value your time and experience nobody else will. So true. Eliminating the self abuse of accepting every call will let you, as Spock put it: Live Long and Prosper.

You might also like:

The art of the decline to new notary jobs
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=15783

How to get the best notary jobs
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=9273

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April 24, 2015

A Notary enters the Shark Tank

A NOTARY ENTERS THE SHARK TANK

ENTREPRENEUR: Hi, Sharks. My company is called Good Sign, and I’m seeking an investment of 2 million dollars for 15% of my company.

The sharks laugh derisively at the inflated value he’s assigning to his company.

ENTREPRENEUR: Good Sign will revolutionize the entire signing industry. We will hire notaries around the country and have their sign loans. There are many other companies out there doing exactly this. However, the quality of the work performed by these companies is either sloppy, or they micromanage their notaries to ensure proper work. Micromanaging, fax backs, and other annoying tactics are commonplace.

Our strategy is to keep a database of the track record of the notaries we hire. If they get through a certain amount of loans with no errors, we will eliminate the requirement of fax backs so they will be more willing to work for us in the future. Additionally, we could attract notaries who are favorable by paying them up front via paypal.com

ROBERT: This is an interesting business model. But, how do you intend to get contracts?

ENTREPRENEUR: In this business, we solicit Title companies. They always need hundreds of loans signed per month. We can offer them an affordable rate, and an even better rate if they give us volume.

BARBARA: What if the Title companies don’t pay you on time and the notaries who aren’t “favorable” as you put it want to get paid? Surely you won’t pay everybody up front.

ENTREPRENEUR: This is true. The really good notaries like Ken will be paid up front because he’s so knowledgeable. But, the other notaries will have to wait to get paid. But, worry not. Notaries are used to not getting paid on time. Some wait months. Some check the forums to see who pays on time while others don’t. There is an endless supply of new notaries who are too unseasoned to read the boards, and the minute they wise up, there will be another batch of suckers.

MARK CUBAN: I’m gonna clear the field here. That isn’t particularly ethical, but from what I hear of the other signing companies, they aren’t exactly a dream come true either. And for that reason… I’m out.

MR. WONDERFUL: Let’s get to your ridiculous valuation. You’re asking for 2 million dollars. You’re not a business yet. This is pie in the sky notion. And do you know what pies in the sky do? They fall down and land – splat – on your face. Only clowns are interested in pies in their faces… I’m out.

ENTREPRENEUR: This is a dog eat dog business, and we intend on being the biggest dog, dawg. All we need is $2,000,000 so we have salaries for our schedulers, marketing department and rent in a swanky part of town.

DAYMOND: I have a connection with Jeremy at123notary.com. And he tells me the signing companies who didn’t pay their notaries are mostly out of business by now. And the survivers who didn’t pay up are getting a lot of heat, and barely making it. It’s a dumb idea… I’m out.

ENTREPRENEUR: Well, our dumb idea is the same dumb idea that the other signing companies have.

BARBARA: Yes, exactly, and 80% of the ones that were in business in 2007 are out of business now! I’d be too scared to put my money into this, I’d never see it come back. You’re too early. But I will give you a little advice. Consider starting a signing company on a micro scale in your local area so you learn the ropes. Then, if your business model is superior to the others, come back and talk. But for now… I’m out.

ENTREPRENEUR: I accept your lack of an offer. However, I have one small request for you.

ROBERT: We’re listening

ENTREPRENEUR: Your statement of declining our offer, well, can you fax that back to me? I’ll need this 50 page form filled out and faxed to me. Think of it like a giant fax back request — like what we put the notaries through!

MR. WONDERFUL: You’re dead to me!

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Shark Tank — 123notary wants to sell 10% of its shares
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David Schwimmer on The Apprentice
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16024

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April 23, 2015

ID – A Growing Problem

Confirming the identity of the affiant is a complex issue. Notary laws regarding ID requirements vary by state. Some states are very specific and have a list of what constitutes proper ID. They may or may not permit the use of a substantiating witness. I am not aware of any jurisdiction that requires multiple IDs to notarize; if you are aware of this situation please comment. One of the vendors: https://www.driverslicenseguide.com/products_summary.html has guides ranging from 25$ to over $200 (published annually!). Clearly, ID fraud is a growing issue.

As mentioned in a prior post, the City of New York will issue an “inmate release ID” with any name the prisoner chooses; if they can’t ascertain the true ID via fingerprints (1st offender?). A new initiative in NYC is to issue “Municipal IDs” to virtually anyone. There are rules and some proofs are required; but the general opinion is that they will be easy to get; with any name or address you choose. Applications can be submitted at the main NYC library or one of the Credit Union offices. Picture their situation if the proof of birth is hand written in Latvian from the local parish, without an e-mail address or telephone. Thus, even a crude forgery becomes a “valid NYC ID”. Glad you don’t live in New York City? But, you have problems too.

If your state does not have a specific list, it’s generally acceptable to accept the classic: “Government Issued Photo ID” – so do you take the NYC ID discussed above? Getting away from the proclivities of New York; most states certainly take other states Driver License, but who can really tell a genuine from a forgery? Without subscribing and always carrying an ID guide, it’s virtually impossible to know what to look for in unfamiliar driver licenses. Worse, some of the passports I have seen are totally handwritten, nothing machine printed; a few even seem to use common package sealing tape to “laminate” the ID photo, yikes!

I have been presented everything from a Food Town membership card to a Diplomatic Passport issued by the State Department. I notarized a Secret Service agent’s mortgage papers. Have I previously seen an SS agent card? Of course not. It looked “good” – so I accepted it. Yes, he did have a pistol also, inadvertently briefly exposed. He also had a DC driver license, again a first for me. Probably they were authentic; but as notaries we are not trained in ID verification.

Some might argue that a national ID card, the same for everyone is the solution. I doubt if such a measure would ever become reality. Thus, we are, with virtually; no strike that – with absolutely no training tasked with determining if the ID presented is authentic. Even a highly trained state trooper can be fooled with a good forgery. So far, there does not seem to be a solution. Here in New York State the notary is required to view (not verify!) “adequate proof” of ID. The determination of “adequate proof” is the responsibility of the individual notary – NY State does not publish a list of acceptable IDs. The list would be helpful; but forgery is still a big issue.

Inexplicably, we have the technology at hand capable of doing the job. There are databases of information about the authenticity of documents. There must be (probably with some exceptions) databases of currently issued and valid IDs. It would be nice to be able to take a cell phone picture of an ID and have it verified by competent authorities. Alternatively, many phones have the ability to scan fingerprints for their lock screen. Perhaps that technology will come to the aid of notaries struggling to verify the identity of the affiants prior to adding their stamp and seal.

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You might also like:

Quiz about Notary identification
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=15144

How to notarize with expired identification
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=8294

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April 22, 2015

30 Point Quiz — Jeopardy

Filed under: Loan Signing 101 — Tags: — admin @ 11:28 pm

In this section, we will test you on some, but not all of the concepts in the 30 point course. Once you feel you are ready, you can email us at info@123notary.com to schedule a time for your over the phone course. If you do extremely well on our test, we might either give you the certification icon, or offer you the certification icon at a discounted price if you didn’t purchase the certification course or loan signing combos in the past. However, we will not reveal how many points you need to earn this certification. Additionally, the content similar to the certification exam would be reflected more in the first 15 questions on the test rather than the last ones!

(1) Other than his loose-lipped girlfriend — The first place you should look for the Lender’s contact information.
What is the ________________ ?

(2) The first place you should query to find Poisoned Prepayment Penalty info without asking the wicked Escrow Officer.
What is the ________________ ?

(3) This type of holiday (mercifully missing meter maids) isn’t factored in to the 3 days a borrower has to cancel their refinance.
What are ___________________ ?

(4) This Mortgage term is similar to The Rate
(batteries, certain fees & closing costs not included; only available at participating locations, restrictions apply; must be 18 or over to enter)
What is _______________?

(5) This is the fee documented in the HUD that can help you get something on the value menu.
What is ___________________?

(6) This Deed lets you take your name off of Title; Think of it as the “Name off Title Affidavit” although you’d be “off” if you thought such a document existed.
What is __________________ ?

(7) This document proves that you reside in the subject property. An if you live in an elevator you’ll need 12 of them.
What is ____________________?

(8) This document is an identity thief’s biggest nightmare as it will have your social security number typed incorrectly and claim that you graduated from Harvard when in reality you went to school online at the University of Phoenix.
What is _______________________ ?

(9) This document makes the borrower agree that they’ll cooperate if clerical changes need to be made in the documents. But it won’t change your loan amount from $200,000 to $20,000,000; so don’t buy the private jet quite yet.
What is _______________________ ?

(10) This loan document takes jazz musicians half an hour to sign in 12 places. About the length of the world’s most annoying drum solo.
What is _____________________?

(11) Many Notaries complete signings incorrectly because they didn’t read this document or the Lender’s mind.
What is _____________________ ?

(12) If you do this on a document, you render it null, void or prohibited by law.
What is ________________ ?

(13) If the names don’t match, you must attach!
If the names on an ID and the documents are inconsistent, or you are doing a Power of Attorney signing, you might need to do this.
What is ___________________ ?

(14) If the borrower introduces you to his girlfriend, ________ you are the Notary. If your borrower introduces you to his girlfriend who is completely naked, call the Lender
What is ___________________ ?

(15) More than once, a secretary in a Title company lost a cashier’s check and the borrower lost their loan. Here is what the Notary should have done to prevent this situation from happening. And don’t get me started on how she misplaced the vanilla hazelnut creamer. Are we being sexist? No. At least a female secretary knows how to make coffee!
What is __________________ ?

(16) This how Samuel Edward Xavier, Jr. would initial.
What is _____________________ ?

(17) This document discloses the APR, and that ain’t no lie.
What is _____________________ ?

(18) The name on the drivers license was Tom Smith, but the Notary refused to notarize because his middle initial and middle finger were somewhere else.
What is __________________ ?

(19) The type of the Notary act must be recorded in the Journal. But, I swear this type of Notary act has no accompanying paperwork.
What is _______________ ?

(20) If black is the new green, this date in January is officially celebrated when St. Patty’s is not. Maybe this question is insensitive, but let’s make a Federal holiday, but not a Federal case out of it.
What is ____________ ?

(21) This type of Notary act can be used to get a university degree officially copied and notarized using a certified copy by document custodian form. It’s almost as easy as getting a fake college degree, or going to the University of Phoenix!
What is ________________?

(22) This type of Notary procedure is used to help elderly people who can’t sign their real name, or remember your name.
What is ___________________ ?

(23) This is a court appointed official that can sign over property when the owner refuses to cooperate in court. When your Quitclaim Deed quits, use one of these.
What is ___________________ ?

(24) This type of Notary seal leaves a raised impression, but not necessarily a good first impression in a piece of paper.
What is __________________ ?

(25) This type of witness is critical in assisting you if you are notarizing someone in jail who has no ID. Whereas your mother in law is just critical.
What is _____________ ?

(26) This section in an Acknowledgment form had a problem because an incorrect county was inscribed. Consequently, the Notary had to use a fresh Acknowledgment form and start all over again.
What is __________________ ?

(27) This action was committed when a signer swapped pages in a document that had already been notarized. The one time a guy chooses to be good at commitment.
What is _____________ ?

(28) This term describes the condition when a Notary will gain financially or in any other way from a document being signed.
What is _________________ ?

(29) This is a state of being where you fail to administer an Oath, omit a thumbprint (assuming you’re not a shop teacher), or forget to identify someone before notarizing them.
What is ________________ ?

(30) E&O insurance protects the Notary if they make an honest mistake during a notarization. But, doesn’t protect the Notary from being sued if they made a non-Notary error during the signing or if this other party made a mistake affecting the loan.
What is __________________________ ?

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You might also like:

30 Point Course Table of Contents
http://blog.123notary.com/?cat=3442

What’s the difference between a listing that gets 16 clicks a month and 100 clicks?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=13185

A detailed look at the Elite Ninja Course
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4621

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Point (28-30) Beneficial Interest; Negligence; E&O;

Filed under: (2) Technical and Legal — Tags: — admin @ 10:53 pm

Marcy had to go back to the hospital to notarize Esmerelda, the old lady who could barely talk. Her family assured Marcy that it would be okay this time. Marcy wanted her travel fee in cash at the door. She explained that if the signer was not fit to be notarized, she would legally have to decline notarization, but didn’t want to have any issue getting her travel fee should she decline. A month back, she drove an hour to a jail, waited for another hour only to be told that the inmate had been moved. The client who met her there didn’t want to pay a travel fee because Marcy “didn’t do anything.” Additionally, Marcy would have a beneficial interest in getting the document signed if she didn’t collect her travel fee at the door. She would want it to be signed so she could collect her $30. In any case, they paid Marcy her travel fee. Esmerelda was able to communicate and actually did understand the document. She summarized it. Marcy was able to do the Signature by X procedure and get her notarized that evening.

An hour after the hospital notarization, Marcy had a loan signing. At the signing, the borrower asked about the pre-payment penalty. Marcy found it in a snap since she had been studying what information is in what document (like all good Notaries should.) But, Marcy started to read the pre-payment penalty to the borrower and even explain what the terms of that part of the agreement meant. Marcy had overstepped her bounds. She knew she couldn’t give legal advice, but she wasn’t aware that explaining a prepayment penalty could be construed as legal advice. Luckily for Marcy, the Lender gave her a quick lecture on not giving legal advice, and Marcy was very careful from that moment onwards.

After Marcy’s two jobs, she came home only to find Patricia waiting for her on the front porch. Patricia had something urgent to tell her. One of Patricia’s other friends who was a Notary was getting sued, and her E&O insurance wouldn’t help. Marcy asked why. Patricia said that the error was not a Notary error, and that E&O only insures you against Notary errors or omissions. It was the Lender who made an error, and the borrower was suing everyone in sight. Even the Notary who had nothing to do with it. It would have cost this Notary $30,000 in legal fees to defend herself from this angry borrower. Then Patricia told Marcy what a Hold Harmless Agreement is. The Lender has their documents, but if you make the borrower sign a Hold Harmless, that can prevent them from suing the Notary as they agree not to hold the Notary responsible should anything go wrong with their loan. Patricia was a great source of knowledge tonight. So, Marcy consulted an Attorney and got a quick Hold Harmless Agreement written out, and she kept a stack of them in her car so she would be sure to have one for every loan signing form that day forward. She didn’t want to end up like that other Notary! Good God!

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Point (28) Beneficial Interest
It is illegal to notarize a document that you have a Beneficial Interest in. But, what constitutes Beneficial Interest? If you or a close family member is named in the document as someone who will receive money, or privileges, then you could be said to have Beneficial Interest. If you would gain in any way from the document being signed, you have Beneficial Interest.

One interesting twist on this concept is that Notaries who get a travel fee don’t always collect the fee in advance. If you are in front of the signer who doesn’t have proper ID, and they ask you to notarize them anyway or you won’t get your travel fee, then you have Beneficial Interest. You won’t get your $35 if you don’t comply with their illegal requests. As a Notary, you are expected to uphold the law, and if your travel fee rests on you bending the law for someone, you are not only encouraging yourself to do something questionable, but you have Beneficial Interest in the document being signed which is purely illegal.

Financial Interest means that you will benefit financially from a document being signed, while Beneficial Interest means that you will benefit in one way or the other — perhaps financially, or perhaps in some other way.

Point (29) Negligence
What constitutes Notary negligence?

Failure to administer an Oath
Failure to take a thumbprint in your journal for a deed or Power of Attorney
Failure to identify the signers
Failure to inspect signatures
Failure to make sure signer signs in front of you for a Jurat
Failure to completely fill out a journal entry

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Point (30) E&O insurance

Many companies want to hire Notaries with E&O insurance. It makes the Notary look more professional and covered. In real life, it protects you only from honest mistakes on notarizations. Most of what you are doing involves overseeing large business deals that get sent back to the lender via courier. Most of the problems you could encounter might include signing the wrong way (even though it might be notarized correctly), getting documents back late, a missing bank check, cross-outs, no-shows, or other mistakes. Notary errors on notarized documents might account only for 25% of the problems that occur in signings that could lead to damages.

If the Lender makes a mistake that causes the borrower damages, you could get sued, and E&O will not cover you since YOU were not the one who made a mistake AND because it is not a Notary mistake. One of our Notaries dropped out because she got sued for more than $100,000, because of some fraud that the Lender was accused of committing. The borrower was so angry that they want to sue everyone in sight regardless of fault. Unbelievable!

Additionally, in 2013 Notaries who had enormous E&O packages were being sued on a regular basis. You are like a guy in a Mercedes driving around a slum. You have the word “Target” written on your forehead and taped to your back. Sooner or later you will get mugged. Think like a Ninja. You don’t get mugged — you mug THEM!

My advice is to think carefully before investing in a handsome E&O package. If it will land you a good account with Chicago Title, then do it. Otherwise, it might make sense to have a smaller E&O premium and have all of your borrowers, Lenders and signing companies sign a HOLD HARMLESS agreement. The agreement should be drafted by an Attorney and could state that if there are any damages by negligence or omissions by the Notary, that you (the Borrower or Signer) will not hold the Notary responsible.

You might also like:

30 Point Course Table of Contents
http://blog.123notary.com/?cat=3442

The 30 Point Course Final Quiz – Jeopardy!
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=14557

Posts about E&O Insurance
http://blog.123notary.com/?tag=eo-insurance

Help, I’m being sued, and E&O insurance won’t help!
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=3570

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April 21, 2015

Augmenting your skill set to make more money as an NSA!

Notaries are complaining that there isn’t enough work out there! But, what can these notaries do about it? The answer is that there are many avenues to make extra money without compromising your career as a mobile notary! Here are some ideas:

Get More NSA Certifications
Notaries are all over the boards stating opinions about having more certifications is not necessary and just makes money for those selling the certifications. Even some people who hire notaries don’t care about certifications as they care about skills, not badges. My experience has led me to believe that getting more certifications helps notaries to be more knowledgeable, and also helps them to prove their knowledge. If you rant and rave on the phone about how smart you are, nobody will believe it. But, if you can give smart answers to questions and show your badges, then you get real credibility! Otherwise, just studying up on your skills will help too even though it doesn’t get you a badge!

Reverse Mortgage Training
Signing Refinances is relatively easy. But, there are other specialty loan signings that require additional knowledge. Many people do Reverse Mortgages without any formal training. However, imagine how much more trust you would win if you were one of the few notaries who did have training and experience at it? The more you know…

TEA
The NNA offers a Trusted Enrollment Agent program. Those with TEA designation can do additional tasks that get additional jobs. TEA agents are trained to understand digital certificates which are used heavily in the biopharmaceutical industry. They also are trained to understand how to apply to obtain a digital certificate and do identity-proofing. They must also learn to identify and distinguish between different types of identification documents. Word on the street is that TEA jobs don’t always pay well. But, any designation you can get will help. Personally, I feel there should be a choice between an Earl Gray TEA, and an Oolong TEA.

NNA TEA Program
http://activerain.trulia.com/blogsview/445209/nna-trusted-enrollment-agent-program

123notary notaries share opinions about the TEA Program
http://www.123notary.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=2416

More E&O?
In real life, E&O is mostly a fashion statement. Unfortunately, the more you have, the more you invite law-suits since the Plaintiff will know that they might be able to collect. Fancy clients such as some of the nation’s larger Title companies have higher standards for how much E&O a notary should have. So, how much is enough? The number keeps changing. In 2014, half a million was enough to please the most picky Title companies. But, many notaries preferred to have a million just to be a notch better than the others!

Background Screening
The NNA’s new Certification and Background Screening seem to be very necessary, but not for everyone. More seasoned notaries have told me that they get jobs because people know and trust them. But, for newer notaries, you might be missing out on work if you don’t pass their extensive background screening and testing! If you are serious about this business – just do it!

Inspections
Notaries claim that inspections don’t pay much. But, on the other hand, you can go when you like, take a few pictures, take some quick notes, and leave. It is not nearly as demanding as a loan signing which involves rigid scheduling, difficult borrowers, and tons of documents. If you want to augment your income, I suggest that you at least try out doing inspections. You never know — you might like it!

Weddings (I do)
Florida, South Carolina and Maine allow designated notaries to officiate at weddings. I don’t know if you need to be in the clergy to do this or not, but you can inquire. Many notaries get a lot of extra income doing weddings. Or maybe it is the other way around that Wedding Officiants make additional money being notaries.

Process Serving
Every time we write a blog about how notaries can make more money, process serving is always on the list. This is a slightly dangerous way to make extra money as you are serving court documents to criminals. But, if you have bills to pay, it is worth looking into. You can fit this into your schedule, and we all know that notaries have many holes in their schedule, especially during the beginning of the month!

Fingerprinting
The rules for fingerprinting keep changing. In my day (I’m sounding old) we used FBI fingerprint cards and rolled each finger, and then did flat impressions. If you made a mistake you had to do the entire card all over again. Live Scan became the norm in the early 2000’s. I don’t know what is used these days or how expensive it is to get into this, but many people make a good supplement to their income doing fingerprints. Plus it is fun. You get to meet interesting people and book them!

Hospitals & Jails
Many notaries are intimidated about going to a jail, and are not fond of going to hospitals. Newsflash — there’s money in muck. The desirable notary jobs include doing highly paid signings for Attorneys and $200 loan signings. But, honestly, how often do you get those types of jobs? In real life, the jobs that pay the most are often jail and hospital jobs. You need to read our blog’s hospital and jail signing sections to learn all of our free tips on the subject first. But, you can make $100 plus per assignment doing these less pleasant and more hairy notary jobs.

Being a Birthday Clown
If you choose this route, just don’t forget to completely remove your clown makeup before going to a notary job, otherwise the borrowers might get the wrong impression. “Hi, I’m Bozo the Notary!”

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An easy way to make $4000 more per year
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Best Marketing resources for Notaries
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April 19, 2015

Point (25-27) Jails; Venues; Fraud; Marcy Notarizes a Felon!

Filed under: (2) Technical and Legal — Tags: , , , — admin @ 10:27 am

Marcy was being very careful now. She had heard horror stories about Notaries getting sued, and landing in huge trouble. Of course in real life, very few notaries get in trouble. But, they could, and Marcy didn’t want anything in her life to go wrong. She got a call from a guy name Sam. Sam seemed very normal at first. Marcy drove out to the job. She recorded Sam’s ID in her journal. Then, she asked Sam for a thumbprint. Sam seemed reluctant. That was a warning sign if Marcy had ever seen one. Sam said, “You don’t need a thumbprint.” Marcy said, “It is safer for me if I have one.” Marcy didn’t know that Sam’s ID was forged. It looked legitimate. But, she had no way to detect the difference as it was forged by someone very professional. Finally, the guy got desperate as he really needed to get notarized. He gave her the thumbprint. A month later, Marcy got a call from a fraud investigator. Apparently Sam was in a lot of trouble. The Feds were catching up with him. Sam was doing fake transactions in false names for huge dollar amounts and cheating people. Marcy asked if they would like a copy of the journal entry that had a thumbprint. The Feds were very happy that she had taken that thumbprint. Without that one piece of evidence they would be virtually unarmed against this felon! A few weeks later Marcy got a call from the Feds. They caught Sam, whose real name was Charles. They were going to put him away for a long time, and they wouldn’t have been able to convict him without Marcy’s help!

Then, a week later, a Lender had a job for Marcy. It would pay extra. The Lender asked Marcy to save a few extra spaces in her journal. Marcy asked why. The Lender said, “Just do it.” Marcy had never been a fan of corrupt Lenders or Nike commercials. So, she just didn’t do it as she knew that was illegal, although she didn’t know what the Lender had in mind. At the signing, the Lender asked Marcy to put yesterday’s date on the transaction. Marcy declined. Then, the Lender asked if she wanted to get paid. Marcy replied that whatever he was paying wouldn’t do her much good if she was at “county.” And that whatever he was paying her (or not paying her) wouldn’t be a huge loss to him if he were locked up at “county”. A day after the signing, the Lender wanted another favor from Marcy. He wanted her to send a loose Jurat with her stamp on it because the certificate section on the Deed had gotten torn by one of their secretaries. Marcy told him that she would send him a certificate, but not a loose one. She said, “Just send the Deed back to me, and I’ll shred the old certificate and add the new one — that way it is legal.” The Lender didn’t like that and said, “Just send it.” Marcy was fed up by now. She told the Lender she was reporting him to the Secretary of State and for him to never contact her again. Just some advice for Notaries: If you want to stay out of trouble, you should consider declining work from anyone who makes even a suggestion of doing anything illegal!

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Point (25) Identification & Jail Issues
Notaries who visit jails may be very aware that inmates never have an identification document which is suitable for notarization on their person. As a result, they might have their mother, girlfriend, or Attorney come and meet the Notary at the time of the notarization and bring the ID which is hopefully current. Jail wristbands do not constitute acceptable identification. However, many states allow the use of one or two Credible Witnesses. Please consult your state Notary handbook for specific laws relevant to your state.

Many States Allow Credible Witnesses
In California, Florida, and many other states, you can use two Credible Witnesses who know the signer, but who do not know the notary to identify the signer. If you visit jails, you might have to use this method of identification to legally notarize someone who doesn’t have an ID. Make sure these witnesses produce their own ID and sign your journal.

Personal Appearance
Many people do not understand the important concept of personal appearance. To be legally notarized, the signer must personally appear before the Notary. That means they need to be in the same room a few feet away, or on the other side of a glass in a jail. Once I was asked to notarize someone 50 feet away barely visible from a jail window. I couldn’t clearly see the person and I declined to notarize as that person was not personally appearing before me.

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Point (26) Wrong Venue
What if the wrong venue is inscribed within the Notary certificate? What do you do? There are several things you can legally do. You can take a loose certificate, staple it to the document, inscribe the correct venue, and then complete the rest of the form. Or, you can cross-out the incorrect county, initial, and write in the correct county name on the original certificate. The third solution is to notarize the document twice: once with the existing certificate and then a second time with new certificate (two journal entrees necessary in this case) in hopes that one of the two will be accepted by the document custodian. It’s complicated. But, what the law says is acceptable and what the document custodian will accept are often based on two entirely different standards.

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Point (27) Deterring Fraud
Notary Fraud is a serious issue. Fortunately, it doesn’t happen very often. But, it did happen to me. Luckily, due to my prudent practices, I was able to use three pieces of evidence to prove that a particular notarization was indeed done fraudulently. After investigation, we learned that the fraudulent notarization happened to have been done by a crooked Title Officer’s secretary!

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What Constitutes Notary fraud?
There are many types of Notary fraud. Here are a few.

(1) If a signer falsifies an identification document, that would be fraudulent.

(2) If a Notary puts an incorrect date on a notarization on purpose, that would be fraudulent.

(3) If someone uses a Notary’s seal who is not the rightful owner of that seal, that is fraud.

(4) If a signer signs someone else’s name and has that signature notarized, that would be fraud.

(5) If a Notary or anyone else purposely attaches a Notary certificate to a document it is not associated with, that is fraud.

(6) Swapping pages on a document after it has been notarized is fraudulent.

(7) Using an expired Notary Seal is fraud.

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Here are Some Ways to Deter Fraud:

(1) Use an embosser as a secondary seal for all pages of all documents notarized.

(2) Avoid leaving any blanks in notarized documents as those could be filled in after the fact.

(3) Staple Notary certificates to the documents they are associated with.

(4) Take thumbprints in your journal for all notarizations just in case the signer’s ID is forged.

(5) Be thorough when you fill out the additional information sections in an Acknowledgment certificate.

(6) Be sure to indicate how many pages are in the document.

(7) Be sure to indicate the name of the signer, and their capacity if applicable.

(8) Be sure to indicate the document date to better identify it.

(9) Be sure to indicate the name of the document.

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Additional Optional Information for Acknowledgments?
Acknowledgment certificates have room for the document name, document date, and number of pages among other information. This information helps to identify which document it is associated with. Since Title likes to dismantle stapled documents which is a very questionable practice, you need to make sure they know which Acknowledgment goes with which document.

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There are Three Reasons why this Additional Optional Information Should be Required.

(a) If the certificate is accidentally removed from the document, it will be clear which document it is associated with. That would help someone who made an honest mistake.

(b) If a fraudulent person wants to re-attach the certificate to another document, he would be deterred by the fact that there will be evidence to show that he fraudulently attached the certificate to the wrong document.

(c) If a fraudulent person re-attaches the certificate to another document, they can easily be caught after the fact if investigated.

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These reasons are all related, yet all different. You assist the honest re-attaching, you deter fraud, and you catch bad guys when you investigate. Got it?

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April 17, 2015

Taxi: Reverend Jim Becomes a Notary

Filed under: Sit-Coms — Tags: , , — admin @ 8:08 am

TAXI – REVEREND JIM BECOMES A NOTARY

ALEX: Louie, what happened to the fifty bucks I had in my locker?

LOUIE: What are you asking me for? Do you think a busy man like me has the time to nose around your locker? Whereas… that nose of yours has all the time in the world.

ALEX: Is that another nose crack, Louie?

LOUIE: If the honker fits, wear it.

NARDO: Somebody stole money from my purse!

ALEX: Somebody would imply it was a human being. And that would be wrong. Because it was Louie.

LOUIE: Hey! I’m starting to feel insulted here.

NARDO: Louie, if you don’t give me back my money, I’ll report you to the commissioner!

LOUIE: (into intercom) Listen up, you losers. I did not steal your chump change or whatever you want to call it. I’ve got better things to do than loot a bunch of lowlifes. I swear to God.

TONY: What about swearing to a notary, Louie?

LOUIE: A notary? I swear to notaries all the time. Like “Get away from me, you @*!# notary.”

REVEREND JIM: Did somebody say they need a notary?

TONY: Yeah, we want Louie to make a statement under penalty of perjury… Did you hear that, Louie? … That he didn’t steal Alex’s or Elaine’s money.

ALEX: That’s called an affirmation, Tony.

REVEREND JIM: Lucky for you and me. I just applied to become a notary.

ALEX: You, Jim?

REVEREND JIM: Yeah. I got to thinkin’…

LOUIE: There’s trouble.

REVEREND JIM: Boss, you know how you boss people around all the time? That makes you the “bosser”. But now that I’m a notary and have my notary seals, you’ll be able to call me… “embosser.”

TONY: That’s why you became a notary, Jim?

REVEREND JIM: That, and they get all the chicks.

ALEX: Well if Jim’s a notary, I think he should make Louie swear under oath that he’s not lying about stealing our money.

LATKA: In my country, notaries are the most revered office holders in the land. They work with estates, deeds, powers-of-attorney. They protest notes and bills of exchange.

ALEX: They do all that in this country.

LATKA: They also have notary groupies.

REVEREND JIM: Damn. I should move to Latka’s country.

LOUIE: Go! And take Potato Latka here with you.

ELAINE: Make him swear he didn’t take the money!

REVEREND JIM: Boss… This affidavit contains a jurat notarial certificate. I want you to sign on the dotted line that you didn’t take any money from Elaine or Alex.

LOUIE: I ain’t signing that.

ALEX: Because you’re guilty!

LOUIE: Isn’t my word good enough for you people?

EVERYONE: Nooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

LOUIE: How ‘bout two words… @*!# @*!# You’re coercing me into signing that thing. That makes it null and void!

REVEREND JIM: Not if I add a free act and deed that indicates you weren’t coerced.

TONY: Wow, Jim. You really know your stuff!

REVEREND JIM: I do? Wow, and to think it was just a guess.

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April 15, 2015

A psycho client goes nuts on me today!

Filed under: General Stories — Tags: , , , , — admin @ 12:51 pm

When new clients sign up on 123notary.com, I give them a welcome call. Part of the reason I do this is to make people feel that they are being taken care of and helped. The other reason is to figure out if there are any dysfunctional phone numbers or psychotic people.

It was a routine call. I started by welcoming the Tennessee Notary aboard our site. She was all happy because this was her Christmas present. I had no idea what she was talking about. Then, I learned that her sister had purchased this notary listing for her as a gift. In any case, after asking her a few routine questions, I learned that she did not have a laser printer. I tried to tell her that having a laser printer and studying loan signing from one of the agencies that offers courses would help her do loan signing.

She said I was putting words in her mouth and didn’t need to do loan signing because she was making tons of money doing other types of notarizations and got all hostile towards me. She happened to be listed twice, and I called her a second time by accident. This time she was even more hostile. She demanded her money back and I asked her to have the person who purchased the listing email me about a refund. I had to remove her from our site since she is a menace to the public. Then she called me twice and left messages. What a nut.

I very rarely have to remove people from 123notary for being hostile or crazy. This only happens once per year. But, boy am I glad that I can protect the public from crazy people. In any case, the call after hers was to an ex-CIA agent turned notary. I had to ask him about the whole “The Interview” scandal and Kim Jong-Un. He didn’t like how cowardly the cinemas were acting and neither did I.

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April 14, 2015

Stating the obvious in your notes section

Filed under: Your Notes Section — Tags: , , , — admin @ 12:27 pm

Roughly 2% of notaries know how to write a really good notes section. We invest a lot of time trying to get the other 98% to write better notes. We basically have to do it for them which is sad. Wendy will call them and spend a lot of time getting critical information from them which they never wrote themselves in their notes section. Don’t you guys want business? Many of you behave as if you couldn’t be bothered!

What notaries need to know is that there are best practices for writing a notes section. There are certain things you write about and others you don’t. Where you put what you put is another consideration. Stating the obvious is a bad habit that many notaries do. They will write about things that they do which any non-mentally impaired notary would do.

I will get the documents back to you in a timely manner.
Comment: Even the worst notary who gets hired by anyone gets the documents back on time. Do you really need to say this? That is as useful as saying, “I promise not to kill the borrower’s cat while at the signing.”

I’m always on time
Comment: Very few people are always on time, and if you are — prove it, don’t claim it. Claiming it doesn’t add to your credibility.

I’m very professional
Comment: What does this mean? Professional at what? Do you have PhD in loan signing? If you are really that professional, you would be certified by five companies and list your certifications which are 3rd party verifications of your professionality rather than claiming it for yourself. Also, in my experience, the people who have nothing else to say about themselves except how professional they are are often the least professional of people. Claiming it doesn’t make it so!

I dress professionally
Comment: This gives me an idea of how you dress. But, why not be a little more specific here. Do you wear a suit and tie, tie and jacket, jeans and a very professional looking T-shirt? Maybe the T-shirt has an image of a tie on it.

2000 error-free signings
Comment: Making self-claims of how accurate you are doesn’t fly with Title companies. They see right through that nonsense. They will think you are a liar if you say this and then they will assume you lie about other things. Then, there are the 99.5% accurate folks. For people who are in the profession of hiring others, they track how accurate you are. They keep copious records for every single notary they’ve ever hired. They will decide how accurate you are on their own. They don’t need your potentially fraudulent misrepresentation of how accurate you are!

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