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November 21, 2020

What are dangerous places for a Notary to be?

Filed under: Business Tips — admin @ 8:25 am

Female Notaries think a lot more about safety than males do. But, even big strong guys can get into danger. If someone is crazy, they might attack anyone, even a big strong guy with a military background.

People’s houses at night.
Going to people’s houses sounds scary. But, in real life, if they have been screened for a Mortgage, they do not stand much of a chance of being dangerous, at least in my experience. However, their neighborhood might not be good at night.

On the other hand, going to a house for a single document might be dangerous. You don’t know who these people are, they have not been screened, and you might be going there at night.

Realistically, the danger is more than you will get into a car accident or bitten by a dog than have an incident with a crazy human being. In my twenty years in this industry I have heard of one Notary getting pushed down some stairs. That is out of 60,000 Notaries on hundreds of millions of assignments.

You might be okay at the house but run into gangs at the local gas station – it happened to me, and we covered it. I know a thing or two because I’ve seen a thing or two.

You might be at a tenement building and some rowdy intoxicated people might be outside. I have heard of this happening once in The Bronx. You could also get harassed by hoodlums on your way back to your car. It might be time to have the appointment at a Starbucks in a better neighborhood. But, it’s up to you.

Nursing homes
If you notarize at nursing homes, your chance of ending up in court is high. That is another type of danger.

Some Notaries might notarize at a cafe late at night. Our local taco place is notorious for having crazy people, arguments, and police. The problem is that the police don’t seem to be there at the same time as the crazy people. Just because you are at a “safe” neutral location doesn’t mean a meth addict won’t walk in and start trouble. Being afraid of your clients is a legitimate fear, but the real danger is more likely from a drug addict, bad driver, or inclement weather.

Many Notaries are afraid to notarize at a jail. That is the safest place to notarize because the bad guys are on the OTHER side of the bars and there is tight security and check points.

The Street
If you notarize on your trunk on the street, you could get hit by a car. I had to park illegally and made the signer come out to sign on my trunk. They complained. I said that this is the only way I could do it otherwise I would have to leave as there was no place to park.

General Tips
It is generally a good idea to be aware of high risk individuals. Those who seem intoxicated or who are acting unusually. People might seem agitated, angry, or afraid for example. Additionally, people might get upset if you refuse to do an illegal notarization and that could trigger a situation. Other people might get upset that their rate is higher than expected. You need to know what to say and how to handle these types of situations. Personally, I have been to about 6000 total signings two thirds of which were loans. I have never been in a dangerous situation. The only disconcerting situations I have had involved animals and gang bangers who were “around” when I went to bad areas to do signings. But, these dogs and gangsters didn’t actually actively do anything to threaten me — I just felt threatened by their presence. Maybe I am worried about nothing. Maybe I overreact to certain things because I am not from that type of neighborhood and because I don’t like dogs.

As a rule, use your senses, and if you feel something is not right, step out. Also, make sure you know your escape route, because there is a small possibility you might need to use it.



  1. I had a signing that was suppose to be in a residential neighborhood. However, when I arrived, I was told via intercom that the borrower was gone to her business–a bond service. I knew the neighborhood to be an unsavory one. I call the agency that sent me out and explained the issue and said they would have to send someone else into that area.

    Another time I went to a signing and the borrower-a man-started pulling up lewd pictures on his phone just as we finished the document. I gathered my documents, had him sign my registry and left.

    Comment by Geraldine — July 1, 2020 @ 4:16 pm

  2. The world is paranoid enough already, please don’t write non sense to add to the insecurities and amplify fear. Negative thoughts attract negative thing.
    This article is written by someone neurotic. It seems to dwell on fear, rather that the prospect of living life as you have to live with adequate precautions.
    So should a NOTARY be constantly be darting nervous glances at every surrounding and look crazy by the nature of trying to be careful? Eventually such a notary would have a nervous notary breakdown.

    DONT !!!

    Comment by Ray Dialooooooooo — July 1, 2020 @ 4:19 pm

  3. @Geraldine, Carry a pepper spray/Mace and practice how to remove it fast & deploy. Maintain physical distance and DO not get into boxed area. BE ASSERTIVE and YET RESPECTFUL. Sometimes, PUT YOUR FOOT DOWN and say, Please give attention to this signing and DO NOT do what you are doing in “MY VIEW ” as this is making me uncomfortable or some other clever sentences you can conjure up. With covid, you got excuse to stay outdoors and do it on the hood of the car or garage, but stay by the door so u can run out anytime.

    When you arrive at, make a call or a fake call that you arrived safely and that you are with Mr So & SO , and that you will arrive at such and such a time. If something creepy occurs, just turn on your phone voice recorder ( all phones have ) or

    Psychologically, Most criminals strike by surprise only. If that surprise factor is eliminated, MOST of the time the CRIME IS THWARTED.

    But if you are have a frightened personality and suspicious by nature, of anyone , then I dont know what else to say.

    Go to store and buy 20 LBS of courage and make a smoothie of it every day. Lol. Once completed, test it out, else go back and buy more Courage smoothie mix.

    Comment by Ray Dialooooooooo — July 1, 2020 @ 4:30 pm

  4. Good article, PtL in the last 13 years dogs have been the main issue and that’s only been a few at that, I trust the Lords help in every area. Thanks again for your helpful articles. Jackie

    Comment by Jackie Brown — January 18, 2021 @ 4:47 pm

  5. Unsavory neighborhood? Then stay in bed. I’d be more concerned about a “good” neighborhood with unreported sex offenders than what some others consider unsavory.

    Dogs? I tell clients when making the appt that I don’t ‘do’ pets – Fluffy’s fur may be an irritant for my next client.

    Great responses Ray!

    Comment by Venita Peyton — January 18, 2021 @ 5:02 pm

  6. DH meets clients at jail and tells Me not to sign there. They are Not safe. Use discretion and common sense. IL is shut down so nobody will meet at a public restaurant. A home in a nice neighborhood, and the signers have children is safe enough. I even trained one signers young GS to sit last week, but I love dogs. And friendly ones generally get bored and leave you alone after about 10 minutes, Anyway. DH’s new office is safe enough to sign at any time. It is in a local municipal bldg, but the old office wasn’t safe after dark.

    Comment by Betty — January 18, 2021 @ 5:08 pm

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