July 2015 - Notary Blog - Signing Tips, Marketing Tips, General Notary Advice - 123notary.com
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July 28, 2015

Milk – The Affiant’s Phone Number

Milk, the common initial nutrient; be it human, whale or squirrel. This life giving liquid provides all essentials for the newborn. Whatever the biological need, be it vitamins, minerals, protein or whatever, it’s all there for the assimilation. What’s that got to do with notary work? Well, that will be covered, by analogy; referring to the information needs of the notary.

I just wasted time and supplies on what turned to a “dud”. The signing was for a significant amount; and the client was a regular. It was to be held at a rather high class “private client” location; a super high floor in a luxury office tower. Knowing my client well, I only glanced at the confirmation to be sure of essential information. Note the word “glanced”.

The docs were going to be available at the bank, however; a set was sent to me to review. Nice. Being a “belt and suspenders” kinda guy, I printed a set. I know the personnel who work with the bigga buck deals are smart; not likely to lose docs. It was only 50 something pages. To my delight, I noticed only a single notarization would be required. The fee was generous. White Glove treatment truly applies here; not to silly titles bestowed by the bottom fishers on the gullible.

We have all seen variations on the “Got Milk” advertisement. We all know it’s good for us. To me the “Milk” of notary information is the phone number of the person you will notarize. Their personal cell, not the switchboard “gate keepers” charged with protecting their executives from excessive calls. The ability to directly contact the affiant can lead to all other essential information. Exactly the same as the nursing mammal receives its needs.

Recall that I “glanced” at the confirmation. Well, it contained only the official e-mail “signature” of the bank officer handling the signing, as the contact info. They could not be reached; and there was the little matter of the announced “Blizzard Warning” (very, very rare) for New York City! It was an early AM job and I wanted to know if the affiant would be able to attend. Calling, the bank both after hours, and in the early AM; yielded the ever present voice mail. I did not “Got Milk”; if I had that golden bit of notary information I could have just called the affiant and asked directly.

The signing was, of course, cancelled; perhaps some other time…… The docs went into the shredder and the calendar entry precluded a different offer – it’s happened to all of us. And it will happen again. Lacking the “milk of notary information” I could not avoid a no-show trip. That’s only one aspect of the nutrients in the milk of information.

Ever go to a typo address? They send you to 457 when the building is 547. The clericals who try to inform us are human; they make mistakes; so do we. But having the one item from which all other information can flow is essential. You can verify the information on the confirmation. It’s also good to speak to be sure they speak your language. That has happened to me. I arrive and the couple do not speak a word of English. My decades ago High School French failed me completely.

If I recall correctly, type “O” blood is the “universal donor”, it can be transfused into virtually anyone. “AB” is the universal recipient. In addition to the nutrients of milk, the affiant phone number is the type “O” of information; they know everything that anyone needs to know about the logistics of the signing location. Stop being treated as a “milkless” (clueless) notary. Similarly, when you operate as a type “AB” taking information from everyone, often conflicting; confusion will follow.

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July 27, 2015

How to start a successful signing company from scratch

Filed under: Marketing Articles — Tags: , , , — admin @ 10:06 am

There are many in this business who want to create vast empires in record breaking amounts of time without knowing what they are doing and without having control over what they are doing. Then there are others who think small and never try to grow their practice. My advice is to grow your practice, but step by step.

There are signing companies out there who are nationwide. They have databases of tens of thousands of notaries. Their phones are ringing off the hook and if they can’t handle the pressure they crack. There are other signing companies that are too large, and don’t take responsibility to pay their notaries on time. Then, there are what I call boutique signing companies. Those are the companies that I like.

A boutique signing company is one that started out as a Notary, and then gradually started hiring more and more people on call. They often do most of the work themselves in the beginning. Then little by little a gradually higher percentage of the work is done by carefully selected staff. These smaller signing companies often charge more, cover a smaller area such as a handful of counties, and do a better job. The main thing in this business is to protect your reputation. You need people to feel safe giving a job to you. With some of these other signing companies, they might screw up!

Another thing to consider is where to pick your notaries and how to train them. Smart signing companies hand pick their notaries. Smart signing companies train people by hand until they are sure that the notaries will do the job the way they like it done. Sometimes it is easier to pick beginners and train them. Why is this? It is because experienced notaries already think they know it all, and are not receptive to new (or correct) ways of doing things. Regardless of who you pick, or how much experience they have (or how arrogant they are,) try to train, screen and then pick people who you are absolutely sure can get the job done right. Once people are working for you, keep them on a short leash. The minute you are not watching people, they will take liberties, and you could end up in a heap of trouble.

Many notaries complain about signing companies who micromanage. Unfortunately, they get a better result by keeping their notaries under their nose. I do the same when I hire people new. The minute the relationship gets distant, the quality of the work is likely to go downhill. There are exceptions to the rule. Carmen and I only talk from time to time, but she has 13 years of experience working for me and is a pro at what she does. I don’t need to babysit her. She has earned her right to autonomy — but, other people have not! So, watch what others are doing, or pay the price!

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July 26, 2015

10 tight points on Loose certificates

I have not written about this topic for a long time because I take for granted that Notaries are experts on the topic. In real life, it is possible that many Notaries do not know how what to do with a loose certificate. So, here are the correct steps to take.

(1) Purchase Certificate Pads from the NNA
Why the NNA? In my experience, they are the best source of 1-stop shopping for Notary supplies. They have great journals and pads. You cannot attach a loose certificate if you don’t have one, so keep them in stock and guard them with your life. Your career as a Notary rests on having the correct forms. You need Acknolwedgment Forms, Jurat forms, and perhaps Copy Certificate by Document Custodian forms. Make sure the wording is acceptable according to the current laws of your state!

(2) Keep the Pads in your Notary Bag
Having the right forms is no good if you don’t keep them with you. Clients don’t want to hear the old, “I left it at home” routine. It sounds like your dog ate it. We are not in junior high anymore! Keep your law primers, journal, pads, seal, and anything else you need on you at all times and remember to keep your journal and seal under lock and key when not in use!

(3) When to use Loose Acknowledgments
If you need to notarize a document and the document doesn’t have notorial wording, it is time to use a loose certificate! If a document has incorrect notary wording for your state, you need to consult your state laws to see if they will allow out of state wording. Most states will allow out of state wording providing that the wording isn’t substantially different. If the venue or the name of the signer(s) is wrong or has an extra signer, or leaves the name of a signer out — you might want to attach a loose form.

Also See: Do you Notarize loose certificates as a Notary?

(4) Fill Out the Form
Filling out forms is not rocket science, but more than 50% of notaries omit crossing out the he/she/they and the capacity(ies), etc. If Joe signed the document, then cross out the she/they unless you know more about Joe than we do. You might cross ou the (ies) too. Don’t forget to fill out the venue, stamp, and sign the form. If your state doesn’t require a stamp, consider moving to a better state!

(5) If the Glove Don’t Match, you Must Attach!
Certificate forms must be attached to corresponding documents by law in many states. This means by staple, otherwise it will most likely be detached which could lead to a lot of confusion and potentially to law suits. You should also indicate the document name, date and length on the certificate as well as any other pertinent and identifying information about the document just in case the certificate gets separated. Many Title companies detach certificates which is completely illegal, but they don’t care because they are above the law — or think they are — or never got caught — yet…

(6) NEVER Send a Loose Jurat in the Mail
You can go to jail and lose your commission if you send a loose certificate in the mail. Lenders often ask you to just send a loose “Jurat” in the mail if the one you sent is not acceptable for one reason or another. You can request that the original document is sent back to you. That way you can destroy the original Acknowledgment or Jurat and add another one and staple it to the document. If you send a loose one, it could be attached to a different document and used for fraud, and you might end up in court.

(7) Some People Create Their Own
Some notaries who are penny foolish create their own Acknowledgment pads. You could put company branding on it to gain attention for your company. Just make sure you don’t goof as this is a legal document.

(8) Thumbprints?
Most Notaries only put thumbprints in their journals if they thumbprint at all. But, the NNA’s certificates have, or used to have (I’ve been out of the loop for a while) room for thumbprints. It looks more official for really critical documents if you get that extra thumbprint. For documents going overseas, I recommend this as foreigners think you are the best Notary in town if you give thumbprints — and embossing looks really official too!

(9) Two Certificates?
Sometimes you might need to attach multiple certificates for a single document. This is fine. One for his, and one for hers. They might even be notarized at different times. The custodian or recipient of the document might or might not like that, but it is all perfectly legal! You might have a lot of staples if you attach them at different times, but that is how the Notary business works.

(10) Jurats with Oaths
Sometimes if you are administering an Oath on a short statement, you can write the statement right on the Jurat form. In this case, you don’t need to staple the form to a document as the form includes the contents of the document as well as the Notarization. Don’t forget to have them raise their right hands and swear under Oath!

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July 23, 2015

See 123notary’s new Pinterest, Stumbleupon, Tumblr and more…

Filed under: Social Media — Tags: , , , — admin @ 9:56 am

123notary has been active on social media since 2009. We did a lot with Facebook and Twitter at first, and then got heavily into blogging. Later we added Linked In, Google+, Pinterest, Stumblepon, and Tumblr. Social media is kind of fun. To be honest it is our Facebook that is getting the majority of the traffic. But, we have very intelligent conversations on Linked In which is wonderful. Below are some links to our new accounts.

Pinterest
123notary’s Pinterest profile is not like the others. Pinterest has a very low count of notary profiles. So, we are trying to appeal to a more general business community in hopes that maybe they will need a notary. We also have travel posts, entrepreneur posts, and more. I love how Pinterest makes it possible to divide your posts into different boards. I have not seen any other social media platform have that feature.
https://www.pinterest.com/123notary/

Tumblr
As with Pinterest, there are very few notaries on Tumblr. However, we post general articles of interest. Recently we posted about Route 66, what Starbucks knows about America, and how Google created a built-in mortgage calculator.
http://123notary.tumblr.com/

Stumbleupon
Stumbleupon is a very small social media network. We posted general articles of interest. 50 questions to get to know someone. Negotiation tactics, 31 places everyone should visit before they die. We posts notary content from time to time, but the audience on Stumbleupon prefers travel and business strategy articles — so, we give them what they like!
http://www.stumbleupon.com/stumbler/123notary

Google+ Notary Community — yet another forum!
We have been working up a storm on Google+ and have built up several personal groups as well as a 123notary profile and Notary, Real Estate, and Mortgage community with over 600 members. We hope to grow the group to 5000 over the next year or two. Wish us luck. We’re posting about various notary and real estate topics for the most part on Google+. There are about 30,000 Realtors on that medium, so we are reaching out to them in hopes that they will join our community and one day be a 123notary member.
https://plus.google.com/communities/110089682668516585285

123notary on Google+
This is our company profile. It is a little different from the community.
https://plus.google.com/115707701763602775915/posts

123notary on LinkedIn
Our Linked In profile offers in my opinion the highest quality of notary discussions. Users tend to be the most practical and businesslike of any of our networks and have very interesting discussions daily!
https://www.linkedin.com/groups/123Notary-Notary-directory-information-discussions-4139192

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July 22, 2015

But, I’m still a virgin!

Filed under: Humorous Posts — Tags: , , — admin @ 9:55 am

I was meeting with my editor / comedy writer. He told me that my writing had improved a lot in the last 18 months. I took a look at my writing and found that he was correct. But, I still make mistakes. So, as he was looking at one of my articles, he found a few small mistakes. “You missed an explanation point!” “There should be a question mark here, and a common in the following sentence.” So, I added the punctuation that I missed. Then, he found something more serious.

ANDY: You missed a period!

JEREMY: Does that mean…?

ANDY: You’re PREGNANT!

JEREMY: But, I’m still a virgin!

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July 20, 2015

Getting on board with signing & title companies

At 123notary.com we come into contact with a lot of newer notaries. Unfortunately, few of them ask for advice, and few of them do the right things. Most are just either confused or not that interested in really making their notary career work. So, what should new signing agents do?

Get on board! But, with whom?

(1) Advertise…
First of all, you need to be seen. Advertise on the major notary directories like 123notary, Notary Rotary, Notary Cafe, and Signingagent.com
If people can’t find you, they can’t use you

(2) Pass at least three certification tests.
We lecture people all the time about this, but few budge an inch. Get certified by ALL companies who you intend to advertise with in the long run. Notary2Pro also offers notary training although they do not have a notary directory as far as I know, and their training is one of the best. Don’t be afraid to get certified three or four times. You learn more each time you study and test. You also prove yourself more. If you want people to respect your knowledge, stop fighting it and just pass everyone’s test. For a professional notary, this shouldn’t be a big deal and it doesn’t cost that much either.

(3) Get on board with signing companies.
Most beginner notaries want to make big bucks working for high paying Title companies. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like this. Title companies like to hire seasoned pros. You are an unseasoned non-pro unless you are from Southern Louisiana in which case you might be seasoned (Cajun perhaps.) But, that’s the wrong kind of seasoned in the Notary business. Work for low-ball signing companies. Work for the companies that everyone is complaining about on the boards. Make sure they pay their notaries, but work for the annoying ones. We compiled a list of signing companies who will hire beginners. I strongly recommend getting on board with them as they can jump start your career and get your phone ringing.

You can also look at our list of signing companies and start contacting them one by one. Not all of them specialize in hiring beginners, but you can talk to them. Most of them will have some sort of a contract you will have to sign. They might want you to fill out forms, submit your E&O, Bond, and some other information too. Don’t send this to us. Notaries mistake us for a signign company daily, and we throw out all of the useless information they send us. We don’t want your E&O, we just want your money… (and your address, hours of operation, county, additional counties, two or more paragraphs of notes about your service, # of loans signed, # of RAM of your laserprinter, etc.)

As a new notary, if you follow these three easy steps, your business will get jump started. You will go from zero jobs per month to dozens overnight. Yes, it might take four months to get on a 50-100 signing company databases, and it might take some bugging them to get your first job. But, do it. People who listen to 123notary tend to do a lot better than those who are either too lazy, or too argumentative to listen. Follow our proven path to success and reap the benefits! You won’t get rich, but at least you’ll be making a huge supplement to your income!

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July 18, 2015

Low-Ball Signing Co’s? How to get biz directly from Title

Do you get business from low-ball signing companies? Are you sick of it? Aren’t we all.
Notaries do a lot of reactive posts about bad offers, but look at it from a different point of view. Let’s be proactive instead of reactive here.

First of all, it doesn’t matter how many bad offers you get as long as you get a few good offers.

Second of all, if you have little experience or training as a signing agent, you are not entitled to anything better than a low-ball offer.

Third, consider this. Some notaries are saying that low-ball signing companies need notaries more than notaries need them. I think that if this were true, that no notary would work for them. Yet, notaries do work for them. However, if you have had it up to here with these bad offers, here is a not too sophisticated strategy that can get these guys to stop bothering you.

Take an offer from a low-ball signing company. Do a nice job with a smile. Do all the fax-backs, etc. Then, find out who the Title company is who offered this job to the signing company. Contact the Title company directly and offer them your services directly at a reasonable price.

Keep in mind that signing companies are in business for a reason. If they charge $150 and pay the notaries $60, why do Title companies use them in the first place? Signing companies can take huge quantities of work off the shoulders of Title companies with a 100% reliability rate. They not only supervise the work, but they guarantee that all of thework will get done correctly and on time, otherwise they get fired. But, what if you are a responsible notary who is a better quality notary than what those signign companies use and charge $85 to work direct with Title. Okay, that’s not enough. What about $95? Think about it. Make your offer attractive to Title and you can “steal” some Title companies away from these nitwits who keep texting you! Teach them a lesson.

On the other hand, I do not recommend contacting Title companies directly unless you have signed at least 700 loans, are certified by at least three agencies, and have a very stellar track record. Title companies don’t play around with beginner’s luck — they want professionals!

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July 17, 2015

Honey, You Can Kiss my App!

GPS: You will be approaching the Deed of Trust in 3 seconds… You have arrived at your destination.

MARCY: Well, I’m a new notary, so what do I do now?

GPS: What do you think is next, do you want me to tell you to wash your hair and then repeat?

MARCY: I’m sorry, could you repeat that?

GPS: Never mind. Have the borrower initial all of the pages of the Deed of Trust in the small horizontal line in the bottom corner.

MARCY: But, this has 15 pages!

GPS: You heard me girl.

MARCY: Okay, we are going to sign the Note now, and then these other documents…. Okay, we finished signing the HUD-1.

GPS: You go girl! Okay, now let’s take a look at that Flood Affidavit.

MARCY: Gee, the app says you can explain this to me in Chinese, but I don’t speak Chinese. Hmm, I wonder what happens if.

GPS: Qing ni zai qian ge ming zai zui hou de ye.

MARCY: Yet another thing that was made in China. I better switch it back to Chantelle.

GPS: Do you realize what you just did?

MARCY: Yeah, I switched you to Li-Wen for 30 seconds. I didn’t know what that button did.

GPS: Well, you should be more careful. That app doesn’t exactly steer you towards the nearest Chinese restaurant, and if it did, it would steer you to the type of restaurants with dishes that the owner says, “you no like.”

MARCY: I think you’re right. I went to one of those restaurants. I ordered something called “zhu chang” and the owner said, “You no like.” I asked what it was and he said, “Pig intestine with ox brain.” And I said, you’re right, I no like! And then he said, “you think you no like? how you think ox felt?” And then I said, “You’ve got a point. Let’s stick to kung pao!”

GPS: Yeah, and if you had kept on with Li-Wen, should wouldn’t direct you to the fork in the road. She would have directed you to the chopsticks in the road. Then, you’d really be in trouble!

MARCY: Yeah, because I don’t know how to use chopsticks.

GPS: Yeah, but Li-Wen could probably hook you up with some training sticks.

SIGNER: Less talk, more signing please.

GPS: I saw that in a fortune cookie once.

SIGNER: Gee, Chantelle, you do seem to know a lot about China for a GPS. Have you been to China?

GPS: Honey, I was born in China. My parents were nine year old kids who didn’t get decent child labor laws for Christmas.

SIGNER: So, you grew up in Peking, not Pittsburg.

MARCY: Gee, I never thought of you as Chinese.

GPS: Well, think again! I grew up in the basement of a electronics chop shop in An-Hui province. I got plenty of love, but my parents were mad at me for not being a boy.

MARCY: Well, couldn’t they have made you into a boy?

GPS: Don’t think they didn’t try! They didn’t have the voice overs to do that, so they were stuck with what they had. And they had to keep me due to the one-child policy.

SIGNER: Well you seem very polite.

GPS: I had to be. My parents said that if I acted up, they would export me.

MARCY: It’s fun talking to you, but honestly, the way you explain the documents isn’t thorough enough. The app literature claimed that you would be a lot more detailed in your instructions.

GPS: Well if you don’t like it, then you can kiss my app!

MARCY: Well, I’m new at this, so I need a little more mentoring.

GPS: Fine. Have it your way. I’m auto-switching you to Charles. You’ll be sorry now.

CHARLES: (British Accent) Hello, this is Charles.

MARCY: Oh, you sound Brittish. So, what’s the next step in this signing?

CHARLES: Well, if you were Queen Latifah, I would courtsey.

MARCY: No, the signing. We just signed the Flood Disclosure.

CHARLES: Well, just sign the other documents and be done with it.

MARCY: Don’t you understand loan signing?

CHARLES: Well, there’s nothing to know actually. You just sign as your name is printed, and that is that!

SIGNER: I don’t know why Marcy opened her big mouth, but we were much better off with Chantel.

CHARLES: This was the way I was programmed.

MARCY: Well, we need more than this, and the app we bought was guaranteed to be thorough in its descriptions of documents.

CHARLES: Well if that’s the way you feel then Cherio. I’m switching you to Li-Wen.

LI-WEN: Ni hao, wo jiao li-wen. Wo zen-me ke-yi bang zhu ni?

MARCY: Do you speak English?

LI-WEN: Sorry, no English.

MARCY: The app said that the voices would be in English.

LI-WEN: Not all of them. 1.3 billion people speak Chinese these day.

MARCY: Well this is not going to work.

LI-WEN: If you no like, then — Honey, you can kiss my app!

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July 16, 2015

Quiz: You know you’re a good Notary when you…

What type of Notary are you? A good one or a bad one? I’m not sure who created the questions for, “You know you’re a redneck if you…”
So, I’ll create my own version of this satirical banter, and come up with my own version for Notaries that will have some technical merit.

You know you’re a bad Notary when you…

(1) Do you fail to call the borrower to confirm the appointment that signing company set, and just show up?
If you don’t call and make sure that all parties involved (watch out for spousal signatures) will be there and on time, with a current ID with matching names — you might be in for some wasted time. If you don’t get the documents signed, you might not get paid. You might waste two hours for nothing because you don’t think you “need” to call the borrowers, or because you were asked not to. It is your appointment and your responsibility!

(2) Do you send loose certificates in the mail?
Lenders and Title companies are notorious for asking notaries to break the law and send loose certiifcates. In some states it is a Misdemeanor if you ask a Notary to do something illegal. Report all illegal requests to your State Notary Division immediately. No second chances!

(3) Do you fail to get certified by all agencies that you purchase “effective” advertising from? Or do you say, I don’t “need” your certification because I’m already “certified” without even disclosing the name of the organization who certified you? There is no such thing as just being “certified” as notary certification is not regulated by any government.

(4) Do you say, “I have my Notary” when you really mean you have your Notary Commission?

(5) Do you fail to use a Notary Journal or Seal simply because your state doesn’t require it? What happens if an investigator asks about a potentially fraudulent transaction you were involved in and you have no evidence for the court? The court case might be really long and you might get in really big trouble.

(6) Do you fail to keep thumbprints of signers in your journal because your state doesn’t require it?
Guess what? You might end up in court if you don’t take thumbprints, especially on transactions affecting high dollar figures such as properties.

(7) Do you fail to administer Oaths to credible witnesses or for Jurats because you are not well enough trained to know how, or even to know that you are required? Or, perhaps you don’t even know what a credible witness even is. Better look this up in your state Notary handbook.

You know you’re a good Notary when…

(1) The hair on your neck stand up straight when you see someone try to sign with a middle initial that doesn’t exist on their identification.

(2) You use an inked seal and an embosser with a raised non-inked seal to make it detectable if pages are swapped or photocopied.

(3) You take copious notes in your journal about the signers, what went on in the signing, and the building / neighborhood where the signing took place to job your memory should you ever be summoned into court.

(4) You sell your car, and buy a few top spots on 123notary.com!

There are many other technical points and best practices that we could address, but for this hopefully entertaining blog entry — that’s all folks!

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Notary aptitude test
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July 14, 2015

Certified Copy of an Apostille?

Filed under: Ken Edelstein,Technical & Legal — Tags: , — admin @ 10:00 am

Certified Copy of an Apostille?
Sometimes I am in awe of the machinations suggested to reduce notary fees. I have just been asked to process a college degree with an Apostille. Routine. However, the client also has asked me to additionally prepare a “certified copy” of the Apostille bearing document! Of course this is totally illegal; and it’s worthwhile to explore the issues involved.

“Student Copies” of educational related documents (degrees, transcripts, etc.) are illegal to notarize in New York State. Photocopies do not include the anti-tamper protections commonly incorporated into the original documents. “Photoshop Magicians” have been known to change the grades; raising their grade point average from a dismal 2.5 to a laudable 3.7. All done with just a few clicks of the mouse. Worse, there have been cases where only the name is changed on the degree – instant college education!

To put an end to this fraud, New York State has added educational related documents to the list of “copy may not be notarized” documents. Already on that list are Birth, Death, Marriage, Divorce and some other officially issued documents. With educational related documents, it is the Principal or Registrar who is the only authority to sign and be notarized. Their signature is on an original, even if it duplicates a prior issuance. Degrees are generally issued for Apostille processing as a letter, signed and notarized – attached to the actual degree. Both should contain the raised seal of the issuing institution.

Now to follow the processing trail. I notarize the signature of the Registrar on the letter with attached degree. My signature is authenticated by the State of New York and the signature of the County Clerk is added; attesting to my “good” standing as a New York State Notary. Then the document goes to the Department of State to receive an Apostille, after the signature of the New York County Clerk is verified. Finally the Apostille is added; with a tamper proof, non-removable grommet, such that pages cannot be added or removed.

The package now contains many signatures: The Registrar, the Notary, the County Clerk and the Secretary of State of the State of New York. Each one has added, in addition to their signature either a raised seal, or some other tamper resistant protection. It is for that reason that the package is acceptable for use in other countries.

Now comes a request for me, the humble notary to “certify” a copy of the entire package! It’s not even easy to make a copy because of the grommet holding the pages together. The only way to make a copy is to fold the prior pages “out of the way” leaving the grommet at the top left intact.

The photocopy would be a mess, and look it. But, it is technically possible; with parts of the underlying documents “cut off” because the non-removable grommet blocks the photocopying. OK, now http://kenneth-a-edelstein.com has a “somewhat” complete copy. How can I “certify” the copy? First, it’s illegal in New York State for a notary to certify ANY copy, only the owner of the document can make a statement that the copy is complete and unaltered; assuming it’s not on the “no photocopy” list. It’s common to notarize a photocopy of an electric bill to be part of proof of residency. But, it’s a long step from electric bill (with affiant present) to educational degree with Apostille attached and no affiant. The only legal way would be to do the complete job twice.

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http://blog.123notary.com/?p=1793

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