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November 13, 2017

Notary loses $4000 in legal fees because fraud adds name to Acknowledgment certificate.

When I was a Notary and was handed some other Notary’s work, I normally saw that the he/she/they and capacity(ies) that needed cross outs did not have cross outs. By omitting the cross outs you cannot know if the signer is a single man, woman, or multiple people. California no longer allows Notaries to verify capacity which leaves one less thing to cross out.

If you as a Notary omit to cross out the she/they on an Acknowledgment for a single man, someone could add another name to the certificate and get away with it undetected. Notaries can be extremely negligent and don’t get caught — usually. But, I catch them by the dozen every day and penalize them on my site. I throw hundreds of Notaries off my site for failing my over the phone Notary quizzes. And others stay on the site but I deduct points from their point algorithm results which makes it very hard for them to upgrade. You might not take doing your job correctly seriously, but I do.

And then the Notaries who take their job seriously, but have been doing it wrong for 20 years and think that their work is flawless. I will catch you. I will expose many things you are not doing or are doing incorrectly. Better that I catch you rather than ending up in court with legal fees for not filling out forms correctly. Being a Notary is not rocket science. There is no reason for such negligence!


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  1. Jeremy, I’m with you 100% on this blog!

    Comment by Ellen Michaels — November 13, 2017 @ 1:52 pm

  2. Yes, you leave me shaking in my shoes every time you call. You scare me. Which is good. It drives me to re investigate current laws and practices and how I do my job. You make me panic.

    Comment by Jessica Koloski — January 11, 2018 @ 11:07 pm

  3. So much craziness going on out there in the world of Notories, I always try to do my best for signers, thank the Lord I can count on 1 hand my mistakes of a date or a stamp, but I am still learning will continue to learn the wording, what some of the docs are called, I love my job and meeting the different people. Thank you again for such informative article’s. Jackie Brown

    Comment by Jackie Brown — June 3, 2018 @ 1:20 pm

  4. Good blog, HOWEVER, I was recently informed by a “new” notary locally (who took the seminar/test in Los Angeles within the last six months) that there are several counties (L.A. being one of them) that are rejecting deeds from being recorded BECAUSE wording (i.e., he/she/they) IS being crossed out! This totally contradicts how I’ve been professionally signing for the past 25 years, so it’s been hatd for me to swallow the concept of leaving it “wide open” for anyone to modify, especially with the delay some escrow and title companies take to get the original deed(s) to the Recorder’s office in the first place, nevermind how fraudulent certain people have become over the years. I did call to query what this woman had told me, as I found it implausible, of the NBA Hotline. They actually said it is an ongoing battle with these Recorder’s offices, and the Secretary of State’s office in CA, and will likely become nationwide a law, because it is, in essence, modifying a preprinted document? Well, if that’s the case, then how come Recorder’s offices accept “homemade” typed Acknowledgment and Jurat certificates? I have been using my own and have my name with my County, commission number and expiration date underneath my signature on all of my certificates, as well as name with “Notary Public” following it on the top line of each Acknowledgment for the past 25 years. That’s modifying a “preprinted” document, but it contains the statutory language. I went one step further and removed the obliquitous “he/they” and “s” when dealing with a single-signing female and did the same for the single-signing male, and then 2 or more people (as relates to Acknowledgments) and had them separated out in folders. I did that for many years, never being challenged. When I found out that ALL language MUST be on the certificate, I went back to the generic “he/she/they” language, but still use mine, and still cross out, as my County Recorder in San Luis Obispo still “does it right” and accepts crossed out pronouns, but I would verify that your County is not one of the counties that makes you leave cross outs OFF your certificates. Bummer the notary got popped for $4k, but his/her insurance should have covered him/her. If he/she was lazy, karma’s a bitch, as is her sister! If his/her County rejects cross-outs, I’d have counter sued the offender, and the County, too, because that’s just plain BS. But that’s just me.

    Comment by Erica B McManus — June 3, 2018 @ 2:44 pm

  5. Right! I concur with Jessica Koloski post, plus he calls when I am usually a minute from bedtime, at my worst mentally.
    Please call me in the am on a land line! nothing but praise Jeremy!

    Comment by David R Collins — June 7, 2018 @ 6:43 pm

  6. I ceased crossing them out the first of the year, because who am I to determine whether a person feels like a he, she, or they on the day the individual appeared before me.
    There are risks of assuming a gender in today’s politically correct environment .

    Comment by Larry — September 2, 2018 @ 2:35 am

  7. Bull! That new notary and the instructor has no clue what either of them is talking about. I have been a notary for 18 years and have always crossed out gender, etc and I have NEVER, EVER had a document returned.

    Comment by Carmen Towles — October 16, 2018 @ 2:26 am

  8. I see this all the time too. IMHO it is a false notarial certificate if you have not properly completed the pronouns.

    Comment by Cheryl — January 15, 2019 @ 9:51 pm

  9. Actually, if you are in the state of CA, the law does not instruct you to modify the pronouns, etc nor does it prohibit. We should have the choice, it is the County recorders office creating the issue. I stopped the practice of crossing/circling 2 yrs ago but implemented another practice of creating a line after the name like on a check so other names cannot be added. If I am using the NNA style certificate as a replacement, I also use the option below for any other “signers not in front of me”, I write their names there as signers, to ensure all know I only notarized for the signer who was in front of me. This is the suggestion I give to notaries in class, along with know your most used county. IE: Sac county stickler for modifying, but my home county Stanislaus not a problem either way.

    Comment by Laura J Biewer — February 3, 2020 @ 4:16 pm

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