One successful West Virginia notary public explains, “I do a lot of car title work for guys who flip cars. You know, buy them and then sell them quickly for a profit. I notarize all the documents that need to be done. A lot of people do this part-time to earn extra money. They buy cars from private people or even from auctions. They know about cars, and they know how to repair them. But they don’t know about fraud, ” explains the WV notary. “Through all my dealings with young men in this business, I have learned how dirty the used car market is and how to recognize a fake check or a counterfeit money order. Fraud is also a big business, particularly when people are out of work” she comments.
“One time,” says our bright-eyed West Virginia notary, “this gung-ho young man called me and told me he had just sold a car for $3000. Wanted me to notarize the car title so he could turn the title over to the buyer. In West Virginia, you have to notarize the car title. I met him a few minutes after his call. Anyway, in this situation, the seller had just given the car to the buyer a few minutes before. Oops.”
“This young man named Chris, the seller, showed me three money orders for $1000 each. I questioned that. Why would a buyer give him three separate money orders? I told the seller and suggested he wait before cashing them. He needed a ride home. When I gave him a ride home, we passed a bank. I asked Chris, ‘Let’s just stop for a bit. I know someone at this bank. My friend the manager knows all about counterfeit money and fraud, and has testified as an expert witness,’ I told him.”
“I took the money orders into the bank and showed them to the manager, who happened to be filling in for a teller that day. She touched one of the money orders and said they were fake! ‘Rub this circle, ‘ she said, pointing to a place on the face of the money order. ‘It did not turn white.’ She explained that it did not use the proper ink and chemical process and showed me it was also missing a line and some hidden text next to a watermark. The ‘buyer’ had probably gotten the counterfeit money orders off the Internet, where there is also additional information about the counterfeit money order scam,” explained our West Virginia notary.
“I went back to the car. Then, I called the buyer and told him my husband worked for the sheriff: ‘If you don’t return the car, you’ll have a whole batch of police on your back and worse. Fraud is a federal offense…’ Then I rattled off the penalties, which I happened to remember He got mad and tried to lie, but I told him to hold the BS and told him where to meet us off the Interstate. He was only 5 minutes away. We recovered the car!” smiles our West Virginia notary. “Over the past few years, I have done a lot of notary work for this young man. And– he is going to write me a review–not that I understand how that will help me,” she adds.
Over the past few years, this notary has kept in touch with Chris, who has provided her with a lot of referrals. Her husband the sheriff? That was a bluff; but by standing her ground and using her righteous indignation and knowledge, this notary did a good deed and also upheld the law. Pretty good for a morning’s work!