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September 4, 2012

Identity theft at a Texas Notary job!

One of the strangest stories I have heard was the one where a Texas notary was threatened by a couple at a signing because the wife insisted the notary was “stealing her identity” when she recorded her information in the notary journal!! The notary explained again and again, very patiently, that Texas notary law requires a notary to keep a journal as a record of whose signatures were notarized and the contact information for each person–in case there is any question–ever–as to who signed what. To be fair, many people may have had complaints about what is recorded in a Texas notary journal…because Texas notary law asserts that a Texas notary may not record the ID # of the person, only the fact that the person presented such and such an ID. The notary tells us, “Still, the woman was not satisfied, and she tried to grab my journal; she insisted I leave my Texas notary journal with her! The woman’s husband began to take her side. Finally, I saw they were just angry people, and that they might not even fully comprehend what they were signing, and I tried to leave. The husband grabbed me by the neck and pinched my neck hard. He actually assaulted me!!! I got out of the house, drove away, and reported the incident to the police…who suggested that maybe I had not done my job right! The whole thing was absurd, because I had explained the journal as a legal requirement, and had even read them some statements about the proper contents of the journal and the reason it is required to have a Texas notary journal. I did not press charges, but from then on, I was very careful about where I did signings.”

BONUS: Can you name the 16 states that require a notary to keep a journal? The names of 15 of those states begin with one of these letters: ACMNOHPT. Additionally, the District of Columbia (# 16) also requires a notary to keep a journal.

One cute and strange Texas notary story involves a notary who came to the home of an elderly man. He seemed very lonely and somehow confused. The notary was there to have the man sign an oath that he was not able to pay a certain amount on his property. When the notary asked the man to swear that this was correct information, he insisted “I don’t swear.” Says the Texas notary, “At first I thought the man was joking. But then, I saw the look in his eyes, and I realized he was not well. Perhaps he was retarded, or had some other issue. So I tried to explain that I wasn’t asking him to say bad words. I explained the whole process, but he kept refusing to sign, saying ‘I don’t swear.’ He refused to sign, and I ended up leaving.”

Another really wild story is one about a Texas notary who came to a home to notarize a health care proxy. It should have been a simple procedure, and the wife and the witnesses were there; everything was in order, but the man’s son insisted on videotaping the procedure. Our Texas notary did not agree, and repeatedly told the man his son could not videotape him without her consent…and that it was not legal. The man and the son began a dispute, and the man, let’s say Mr. Smith, tried to grab the camera. The son, who was a teenager, started to run around the house with his father chasing him–while I was trying to have the wife sign. Very soon, Smith caught up with his son, quickly grabbed the camera from the young man, threw it into the microwave–and pushed the button. There was a huge explosion as the camera blew up! The Texas notary recalls, “I just thought this was bizarre. Smith had a lot of anger, maybe because his wife had cancer, but I don’t think so. I felt I was dealing with a genuinely unwell person. There was something very strange in his eyes. After I saw this, I felt that the husband was not in a state of mind to manage his wife’s health care, and I told them they needed to get another notary. I left the house feeling shaken…but I was happy I was not in that woman’s shoes.”

Another Texas notary went to a signing at the home of a woman who insisted on keeping a porn video running on her big screen TV all during the signing. This notary says, ” The woman’s back was to the TV, but mine was not. I felt very uncomfortable, but did my work, collected my fee, and left as soon as I could.” Some notaries have a lot of patience, it seems.

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