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March 31, 2018

Scenarios: The FBI is at your door

False Identification

What piece of information will the FBI want from you if someone gave you a fake ID?
A journal thumbprint. If you don’t keep journal thumbprints, consider starting now.

But, why keep a journal thumbprint if your state doesn’t put a gun to your head and require it?

Most Notaries disdain the idea of doing anything that isn’t forced on them. Doing the absolute minimum seems to be the gospel of many Notaries these days which is a problem. Laws are often too inconclusive to include safety measures that protect the Notary and society from fraud.

A few states are against journal thumbprints
Some states recommend against taking thumbprints as that information is highly sensitive and could be used for fraud. But, the police take fingerprints don’t they? Should society tell the police to stop taking fingerprints since the information could get into the wrong hands? My opinion is that a Notary Public is a member of a profession based on trust and integrity. If a state doesn’t trust a Notary with a thumbprint, they should not commission that Notary to begin with. Would you hire a policeman you don’t trust? Bad example, in Los Angeles there are many police I wouldn’t trust with a dime (but might with a peso since we are a sanctuary city). But, the point is that the position in society of an integrous Notary is based on trust. If you don’t trust someone, don’t marry them, and don’t appoint them as a Notary. If the Notary needs special training to safeguard a thumbprint, then give the training.

You could be named as a suspect
Without a journal thumbprint you do not have a paper trail sufficient in many cases for the FBI to nail the bad guys. It is a common practice for the FBI to treat the Notary as a suspect in identity fraud cases. So, if you don’t want to be pegged as a suspect, you should consider leaving a paper trail. You are notarizing for million dollar properties, and it behooves you to leave a paper trail using any legal methods you can.

Without a thumbprint
Without journal thumbprints, someone could sell a million dollar property to another party fraudulently and there would be no paper trail other than a fake identification serial number and expiration date in a notary journal as well as a falsified signature. Where will that fake evidence point the FBI? The signature might be mildly helpful to forensics, but it is a bum steer down a one way road to a cul de sac. It goes nowhere. It is good to be helpful to investigative authorities. States like Florida and Texas don’t care about investigations, they just don’t want you taking thumbprints. They don’t care if there are consequences to the Notary either. They only think about what bothers them, and not about the bigger picture.

Without journal thumbprints, society is not safe. If society is also not safe with Notaries having thumbprints, then society needs to choose more trustworthy Notaries. California Notaries have been taking thumbprints for years and I have not heard of an issue relating to that fact in my life. Therefore, I feel that the risk to society for Notaries to keep thumbprints is minimal, yet the risk of Notaries not keeping thumbprints will cause a problem in one of every several thousand transactions. The FBI has asked many of my customers for thumbprints over the years, and the California Notaries had the thumbprints and really helped investigations lead to arrests.

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You might also like:

13 ways to get sued as a Notary
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19614

5 things a Notary must do.
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19583

If you’re named as an identity theft conspirator, it could cost you $20,000 in legal fees.
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19481

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December 19, 2017

Do you keep a journal to please your state, a judge, the FBI, or 123notary?

Most Notaries do not keep a journal because their state doesn’t require it. This is a mistake. Your journal is your only evidence in court. Many Notaries who list with us end up in court. However, since most of our Notaries keep some sort of journal records, their time in court is normally just a visit to the judge’s chambers where the judge might dismiss the case due to good evidence provided by the Notary.

Some Notaries keep a journal, but do so in a fashion I call minimal, where they do not keep the book according to NNA best practices and do not record thumbprints. Since their law might not require any journal, the Notaries often figure that they are already doing more than necessary so why do the maximum?

The answer is that your journal thumbprint which most of you refuse to keep is the ONLY way a judge or investigator can figure out who the signer is in the case of a falsified ID given to the Notary. You don’t know if an ID given to you is real, fake or falsified. But, the thumbprint is real. So you accept ID that can be falsified but refuse to take ID which is genuine — stupid! Take both.

The bottom line is that the real reason you should keep a journal is NOT to please your state (although you must uphold the laws of your state.) California is the only state I have ever heard of who audits people’s journals. If you live outside of California, the chance of your state ever seeing your journal is minimal. However, it is very likely that a judge, an investigator, or the DOJ might need to look at your journal in the case of identity theft. So, keep your journal with the intention of making their lives easier AND making sure that they don’t consider you to be a suspect! Keeping inadequate journal records is suspicious, do don’t be shoddy — be thorough!

Additionally, Jeremy (that’s me) at 123notary is sick and tired of Notaries who are shoddy and don’t keep good records. Keeping a journal is not good enough. You must keep one journal entry per person per document and thumbprint for serious documents such as deeds to please Jeremy. Jeremy wants investigators to be able to catch bad guys, so if you deny them the critical piece of evidence (a thumbprint) to catch the bad guys, then in my opinion — YOU are a bad guy! I would personally throw you in a lion’s den for not keeping a thumbprint if I could have it my way. But, I am not in charge of the world — I’m only in charge of my site.

So, if 123notary gives you a little phone quiz and asks you some questions and we find out that you don’t keep your journal correctly we will deduct points from your score. If we find out you make excuses for your abhorrant behavior, you lose even more points. Why act like a disobedient third grader when nothing prevents you from keeping good books! Only you can prevent forest fires and only you can provide the missing link to catching identity thieves — so do a good job otherwise you will get into a little trouble with 123notary. But, your state won’t care because states other than California don’t seem to take the Notary profession at all seriously! Food for thought!

Summary
Don’t keep your journal to please your state. In real life they will never see it unless you live in CA. Keep your journal using the best practices possible to please a judge, jury, the FBI, KGB, the Mossad, and Jeremy from 123notary. I will penalize you if you don’t keep good books as that reflects poorly on my reputation!

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You might also like:

Notary Public 101 – Journals
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19511

Do you keep a journal? Don’t wait until you get a call from the FBI.
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19377

How many journal entries do you use for two signers on three documents?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19391

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January 22, 2011

Bounced Checks, Collection Agencies, FBI reports: Learn which companies are involved!

Bounced Checks, Collection Agencies, FBI reports…

For some of you, this is old information that you have already been following. However, many notaries do not have time to read everything that goes on on the forum, and this news about signing companies will be of interest and a convenience to them!  It is hard for me to keep up with what is going on on the forums on a daily basis, but I have noticed that a lot of bad things happened in September 2011.  There were a few loan signing companies that had a reasonable reputation that suddenly stopped paying notaries.  One or more companies was reported to be out of business.  I am going to summarize the more important events of the last month or two here. I will only mention the more noteworthy signing companies here.
 
All Service Notary & Signings
Sept 16 – A notary gives up on trying to collect their bill and hands it over to a collection agency. Additionally, this notary reports the signing company to a credit bureau!  Another notary reports trouble getting paid from this company.  A third notary says, that after a long time, they finally received their check — but, that was in early August. The situation looks like it has deteriorated since then.
 
CRES Closers
One notary says that they are the BEST to work for!  Another says they met his fee and that they were great to work for. A third notary claims that they sent payment super fast!  Wow, it is nice to hear good things about a signing company these days!
 
Equifax Settlement Services
One notary got paid, but says the company says that they will take THREE MONTHS to pay for jobs in the future because they have to wait until the loans fund.  Another notary discusses the letter they sent to the BBB about this company. A third notary discusses the difference in what this company offers different notaries for the same work.  One gets $85, while another is offered $125!
 
FASS – First American Signature Services
Notaries are complaining, but not about payment issues.  One notary was taken off the list because FASS found a less expensive notary.  Back in 2010, FASS took over service for a big Title company and dropped the notary who had been servicing the signings for that Title company.  Another notary feels that they were treated rudely after some sort of argument about “quality issues”.  Although there is a lot of complaining going on here, I don’t see any wrongdoing on the part of FASS. They are just shopping around to find the best notaries for them — and trying to get high quality service as well. America is a free country and nobody is obligated to keep the same notary for life.
 
Final Link
Three notaries have complained that this company doesn’t do a good job of getting back to people. Not returning calls, etc.
 
First Preference Signing
Four notaries all claim in unison that this is the best company that they have ever worked for. 
 
Harvard Abstract
Three notaries are claiming that this company is easy to work for and that they pay quickly.
 
HVR Notaries
Two notaries claim that this is a good company to work for.  One says, “They met my fee”, which is a very good sign these days with all the low balling.
 
Insured Closings
Notaries claim that there have been several reports of BOUNCED CHECKS from this company.  Watch out!
 
National Loan Closers
This company is reported to be asking for $25 to keep notaries on their list. This is causing a lot of disturbance in the notary world.  Notaries feel that companies should be paying them, and not vice versa. 
 
Nations Direct
We have gotten many complaints about low-balling and micromanagement. One notary’s signing was interrupted by a phone call, where she was asked if she was using a blue pen.  On the other hand, it is prudent for a signing company who uses many newer notaries to call and check up on people. Obviously, many of the notaries they hired screwed up and ruined many loans which is the reason for all of the babysitting.  Please try to look at things from the signing company’s perspective. They are trying to get the job done.  Also see: Nations Direct has been around for more than a decade!
 
Nowclosings.com
Many notaries are claiming that this is one of the BEST signing companies they have ever worked for.

N3 Notary
A few notaries are complaining that company has badgered them too much during their signings. 

Pacific Document Services
Checks that they sent out have allegedly gotten LOST in the mail. One notary has filed an official complaint with the FBI to try to get this company shut down. Another notary received a check that BOUNCED.  This is one of the most serious cases I have seen all year!  The opinions expressed here are the opinions of particular notaries and not of 123notary.com.
  
Safir Signing Agents
Multiple notaries are complaining about no-pay and SLOW-PAY.
 
Service Link
This company has lowered their fees, and we have had many complaints from notaries about LOW-BALLING from this company.
 
Superior Closings
The people that run this company have been functioning under four different business names over the course of time.  They are reported to be out of business now.
 
The Notary Biz
Many notaries are discussing whether or not this company is still in business.  One notary had a discussion with the owner who claimed that they were no longer in business.
 
The R&R Group
Several notaries are complaining about non-payment, and one is owed $375 by this company
 
Trans State Services
Many notaries are really happy with this company.  Good working conditions and timely pay!
 
Vital Signings
This company has a good payment record, but many notaries are complaining that there are too many steps involved in the signing process and a lot of babysitting.

Tweets:
(1) Here is a list of companies that bounced checks, had FBI reports, or were notorious late payers to notaries!

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January 12, 2011

Why keep a journal? Don’t wait until you get a call from the FBI.

I have the worst time talking to Notaries in NJ, NY and Florida. They have the worst attitude. The minute ask them a journal quesiton the answer is usually — my state doesn’t require me to keep a journal. I have heard this so many times I just want to throw them off my site just for saying that. I am so upset, that I have decided to have formal standards on 123notary for what we require in our jurisdiction online. Journals will be one of the requirements.

When you are:
Investigated for fraud that you notarized
In court or
Need to look up a former transaction for some reason

Your journal is your only recourse. If you don’t keep a journal, you will not be able to answer to investigators. A journal thumbprint is sometimes the only way the FBI can catch an identity thief. If you don’t keep one because your state doesn’t require it, then you are empowering identity thiefs. Florida’s FAQ page states that they don’t want Notaries to require a thumbprint. That is like asking parents not to require their children to wear a seatbelt. When your child comes home with a fractured jaw, you will change the way you look at this “requirement.”

I was investigated three times.

#1. An investigator suspected an elderly couple of being ripped off. I told him I found the transaction in my journal and had a thumbprint. He said, “Investigation over.” I was off the hook because I kept good records.

#2 A routine inquiry with a journal entry copied and sent to the inuirer.

#3. Someone copied my seal using a xerox machine and pretended to be me. I looked in my journal and found the exact day when the crime was committed. I did a few other jobs that day, but not the job in question. The handwriting on the acknowledgment didn’t match mine either and they did not do the cross outs or use an embosser. Having a journal saved my neck. How can you not keep one?

Another story was that a shady guy wanted to be notarized by me. I told him that I required a thumbprint. The guy protested but I stood my ground. He declined and found another Notary. I detered a potential fraud from happening and it was easy. NNA sells thumbprinters for about $16. Buy a few. It is your best protection.

NNA teaches proper journal filling technique. Learn from them. They teach Notary knowledge better than anyone else.

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You might also like:

What entities might want to see your journal?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20902

Notary Public 101 – Journals
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19511

How many journal entries if you have 2 signers each signing 3 documents.
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19391

Notary Public 101 – Identification
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19507

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November 27, 2020

10 reasons to get 123notary certified

Filed under: Certification & Communication Skills — admin @ 7:02 am

Back in 2004 to 2012, many people wanted to get 123notary certified and studied hard to get this designation. In the last few years, we retested our certified members and found that the overall skill level of people on our site had declined a lot and that most people were not willing to study. This is a huge mistake. Title and signing companies care about experience above any other qualification. However, they still reward people for knowledge and the clicks and jobs dispatched prove my point. If you want to have an edge over the other Notaries, 123notary certification is one of the most effective investments of your time — the other two being reviews, a stellar notes section and accumulating mass amounts of experience the old fashioned way. Below are some significant benefits for 123notary.com certification.

1. Get more clicks (but, not on route 66)
123notary certification currently gets Notaries an average of about 30% more clicks to their listing. It is one major factor of several that determines whether or not your listing will even get looked at. More clicks typically translates into more jobs, however, this relationship is not directly proportional. 30% more clicks in real life would translate into 40-50% more jobs. Many people will click once on your listing during a query. But, if they give you extra clicks, that means they are strongly considering hiring you which is why the click to job ration is disproportional and in your favor.

2. Get more jobs from Title
One Notary wrote to me after he failed his certification retest audit. He said that calls from title dropped altogether the minute I took his certification icon away from him. This is not true for all Notaries, but was his case which is why he studied many hours to pass the scrutiny of my questioning. People who work for title want solid Notaries, and they look at a number of factors including certification — and for God’s sake, please don’t have any spelling mistakes in your notes section on your listing or you can expect your phone to be dead.

3. Feel more confident about yourself
Many Notaries who master our materials like the fact that they know what they are doing. At the risk of sounding more like a deodorent commercial — many signing agents have told me that the feel happier and more confident talking to title and going to signings. Yes, they spend many grueling hours studying for our test, but they feel it was worth it and I respect their diligence.

4. Be one step closer to elite certification
You cannot just become elite certified at 123notary. You need to have a solid understanding of Notary procedure and vocabulary as well as a 123notary basic certification. Certification brings you one step closer to being ready to study for the elite test which is very different material and much more obscure.

5. 123notary certification is sought after by particular companies
I have gotten correspondence from Notaries who claim that 123notary certification is informally recognized by 1st American Title among others.

6. You will be a safer Notary
Many Notaries put themselves at legal risk because they do not know the legal significance of how they handle situations. Not keeping your journal correctly could end you up in trouble with the FBI or a Judge in court. Not keeping thumbprints could get you named as a suspect in an investigation as it looks like a cover up. Doing cross-outs when it is not necessary can get you in trouble with certain county recorders or Lenders. Knowing what you can do, and knowing what you can do that is prudent are two different questions. Learn how to please your client without creating liability for yourself by mastering our Notary materials. We have written blog articles where Notaries have gotten into legal trouble and had to pay up to $20,000 to defend themselves when they were innocent. Imagine how much easier it would be if you kept proper records and acted prudently at all steps along the way.

7. Multiple certifications make you look serious
As someone who deals with Notaries all day long, I can attest to the fact that I have a higher level of respect for Notaries who have three or more certifications. Those who just get the NNA certification and say, “That is all I need.” seem like underachievers to me. I have a higher opinion of those who took notary2pro, NNA, and 123notary certification, or Loan Signing System. When I was a Notary I got certified by five organizations to give you an example of someone who takes this business seriously.

8. Make $8 more per signing.
We did a poll many years ago and learned that our 123notary certified members average income made per signing (according to their claims after a mass email was sent asking them how much their average signing netted) was $8 higher than people not certified by 123notary. Elite members made $14 more per signing. Making more income per signing means that after expenses, you will be making a lot more per year. The extra income could add up to $5000 to $10000 extra per year for a busy Notary which might be $200,000 in their lifetime. It only takes ten hours to do a good job studying for our test. Is your ten hours worth $200,000? That’s $20,000 per hour. What else can you do that is worth that much even if you do brain surgery (or are a hitman) on the side?

9. Get perks from 123notary!
If we notice you are 123notary certified, you would be more likely to get opportunities for free or paid upgrades that the others might be overlooked for. Stop being overlooked and get certified today! If you are late paying your bill, we might give you a little longer grace period. And in general we will value you more because you represent knowledge, quality, and come across as being a serious Notary. Over all you will get better treatment from 123notary if you pass our test.

10. Be more fluent explaining things to borrowers
In real life there are certain things you can and should explain to the borrowers while there are others that you should refer them to a professional about. If you pass our test you will know where to find the prepayment penalty, how to explain the APR, what is on the HUD or CD, and when their first payment is due. You will have this information memorized. You will know that a signer can legally presign an Acknowledgment (in most states) whether the Lender “prefers” that or not and how to administer an Oath without falling on your face. You will be more professional and smooth in all of your transactions.

SUMMARY
Certification will help you get more clicks, get more work, make more per signing, be smarter, feel better, be a smoother Notary, and get on the good side of 123notary. It only costs a few hours of study and a small fee, so the only thing holding you back is lethargy. Get off your assets and get 123notary certified today!

You might also like:

Compilation of posts about certification & elite certification
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16264

123notary’s comprehensive guide to getting reviews
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16290

How to write a notes section if you are a beginner
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16698

Unique phrases from the Ninja course
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=14690

The lady who studied 30 hours for her elite test
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=21238

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November 16, 2020

Notary fined $385 for botching a Notarization

Filed under: General Articles — Tags: — admin @ 10:49 am

Originally posted in 2018

Many of the Notaries on our site are so incompetent about communication and Notary practices that I shutter to list them. The fact is that I am not always informed when Notaries get in trouble. I would like to hear more stories of Notaries who goof and get in trouble because I want to learn how to prevent the problems from happening in the future.

The fact is that a Notary in Louisiana (I don’t remember clearly the name of the state but think it is Louisiana) did a Notary job for a loan signing. The Notary was new and had no idea what she was doing. There were numerous mistakes on dates, signatures, notarizations, etc. In fact there were so many mistakes that the Lender make the Notary pay for the redraw of documents. The bill came out to $385. Ouch. What a nasty surprise for this enthusiastic but clueless Notary.

The moral of the story is that you cannot just get a Notary seal and start working without knowing what you are doing. The states don’t prepare you at all for Notary work. Even California gives very little hands on training. NNA certified notaries have been trained in some basic aspects of loan signing, but that course does not teach basic Notary knowledge. So, if you think you “know what you are doing” because you are NNA certified, try taking NNA’s Notary Essentials course first. It is better to know how to be a Notary than a loan signer, because most of the mistakes notaries make are either rudeness, leaving people high and dry, not following directions, or you guessed it — Notary mistakes. Notaries very rarely get in trouble for not knowing their loan documents and rarely get in trouble for dating an RTC wrong although it could happen.

So, become an expert at being a Notary. You can get into trouble with me if you don’t and trouble with the law, lenders and customers as well. Knowledge is power and ignorance comes at a high expense.

.

You might also like:

Notary loses $4000 in legal fees because a fraud added a name to the certificate
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19477

If you’re named as an identity theft conspirator, it could cost you $20,000 in legal fees.
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19481

Do you keep a journal to please your state, a judge, the FBI or 123notary?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19483

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November 4, 2020

10 risks to being a Mobile Notary Public.

Filed under: Notary Mistakes,Popular on Facebook (some) — admin @ 12:59 am

Originally posted Oct 19, 2017.

Notarize at your own risk. Being a Notary is NOT safe!

Many of you think that being a Notary is an easy way to make a few extra bucks. Stamp a piece of paper, get $10, easy, right? Then you deal with nitpicky signing companies who make you fax things back and you get mad, right? That is an annoyance, but not the bigger problem. Being a Notary is dangerous, particular when you don’t do your job correctly. Most Notaries feel that you look at an ID and if it is close enough and the photo looks like the guy, that you are doing your job, right? Sort of. Here are some itemized risks to being a Notary Public.

1. Hoarders
If you go to someone’s house and they have things stacked to the ceiling, you might be in danger in their house. The signer doesn’t want to hurt you. It is just that they cannot control their psychological disease that causes them to engage in hoarding. My housemate is like this and she has stuff stacked to the ceiling which is dangerous and a fire hazard. Something could fall on you or you could get trapped in a fire.

2. Bio-hazards
Some homes that are not cleaned properly are dangerous. One house Carmen almost went into had some bacterial infection that would have gone straight to her lungs and caused her to go to the hospital. If a house smells funny, maybe you are not safe in there. If it is not ventillated properly, perhaps you should stay away. Poor hygene can be deadly, so be advised.

3. Dogs
Some neighborhoods have unsafe dogs around. Notaries could be harrassed or bitten by dogs. Carrying pepper spray or mace is not a bad idea.

4. Slummy neighbors
You might go to a signing in a bad area and people nearby might be hanging out who look unsavory. I am not sure if this is dangerous, but some people get upset.

5. Angry borrowers.
One Notary got pushed off a flight of stairs and broke her wrist. The borrower didn’t like his APR and I guess the Notary didn’t educate themself on how to give a professional explanation of the APR either. The borrower ended up in jail very quickly and the Notary healed in two months.

6. FBI and lawsuits
Roughly 2% of full-time Notaries will end up in court or with an FBI investigation for being involved with identity theft. If you do not keep a thorough journal with thumbprints and the right amount of journal entries, you are much more likely to be held in court as a witness, suspect, or cause yourself extended grief. Without a thumbprint, the investigators are often helpless to catch really really bad people. So, help them out and keep thumbprints. Do your part to safeguard mankind.

7. Getting sued by a borrower
One borrower got mad and sued the Lender, Title company and the Notary when the Notary had done nothing wrong. The Notary tried to use their E&O insurance, but the company wouldn’t pay out because the Notary had not made any error or omission. Of all the bad luck. So, the Notary lost $30,000 in legal fees. Talk about bad karma.

8. Getting sued by the bar association
If you life in an Attorney state and do loan signings without a law license, the bar association might come after you. Good grief.

9. Jeremy might phone quiz you.
Many Notaries who thought they had it together got a phone call from the infamous Jeremy (that’s me) and failed an over the phone quiz. They rationalized, “I’ve been doing this 30 years and therefore I know what I’m doing.” My rationalization is, “Not if you got 18% on my quiz which consists of very easy and every day notary questions.” You might not lose any money, but you could lose your dignity if you score less than 70%. So, study up!

10. Your seal could be stolen
It happened to me. I had to write to the Secretary of State. My car was broken into and I lost my seal, embosser and journal. What a tragedy. It took me two and a half weeks to be back in business. Think of all the money I lost not to mention the trauma of being robbed of my most prized possession — my inkless embosser that I used as a secondary seal to deter fraud! Boo-hoo.

There is also the risk of traffic accidents and having one of those talking GPS systems that talks back to you when you get in the wrong lane, but I won’t include details of those problems as they are common to all humans who drive and not just to Notaries. The end!

.

You might also like:

13 ways to get sued as a Notary
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19614

Notary loses $4000 in legal fees because a fraud adds a name to a Notary Acknowledgment.
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19477

Compilation of posts about Notary fraud
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=21527

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October 17, 2020

13 ways to get sued as a Notary

Originally posted in 2017

Many people become Notaries to make a few extra bucks and don’t realize there are liabilities in this profession. Here are some ways you can get into trouble as a Notary.

1. You name your business a particular name, advertise with that name, but the name is not registered with your county clerk. Someone could sue you for using their business name.

2. You notarize loans in an Attorney state and the local bar association sues you. This has happened to a few Notaries in Massachusetts, and in Georgia the bar association antagonizes Notaries from time to time.

3. You make a mistake on a signing and your E&O doesn’t cover you. E&O is for NOTARY MISTAKES and not for business mistakes you make with loan signing. If a document is not notarized, your E&O will not cover your mistake. For example if you sign the note wrong, that is not a Notary mistake, that is a document signing mistake.

4. You return documents back late and the Lender sues you because the borrower lost their lock.

5. You make a comment to the borrower about their loan, they cancel, and then the Lender blames you and sues.

6. You decline to Notarize someone whose name on the ID does not match or prove the name on the document. One Notary did exacty this and got sued and lost because her communication skills were so bad, but judge could not understand her side of the story.

7. You get in a car accident on the way to a signing and get sued as a result of the accident.

8. You make a mistake in a loan signing and then don’t answer your phone or email for days after. The Lender is pulling his hair out and sues you for his bill with Bosley hair transplants.

9. You don’t follow directions on an assignment. You don’t show the documents in the order the client asked you to. As a result, the client changes their mind about signing the document that will get the client their commission. The client loses $5000 because of you, sues you, and wins.

10. You forget to administer an Oath and your state fines you for malpractice. In California there is a $750 fine for each Oath you forget. Fining and suing are different, but the end is the same — you lose. Or should I say, I swear you will lose!

11. You give legal advice or something that can be construed, misconstrued as legal advice. Then, you get sued for UPL. If you give legal advice to a courier company you could get sued for UPL by UPS.

12. You put the wrong date on the Right to Cancel, the borrower thinks they have an additional day, and find out after the fact that they don’t. Good luck. You would be surprised how many Notaries do not know how to date a Right to Cancel.

13. You misrepresent yourself as an immigration expert and defraud some poor and helpless immigrants. Or you advertise as a Notario. You will be cracked down upon by many state governments for this.

.

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June 13, 2020

Inspecting Journals

Filed under: Journals — admin @ 10:14 pm

Many Notaries do not bother to learn how to correctly fill in their journal. This is important because you could be investigated by the FBI (it happens to our notaries from time to time) and you could end up in court before a judge. You might be treated more leniently should anything go wrong if you keep very prudent and correct looking records. If you have omissions, sloppiness and don’t follow sensible procedure, you increase the chance that you could end up in trouble.

The most important rules to remember in journal entries are:

1. Fill out all fields in the journal. The additional notes section can be used for anything noteworthy about the building or signer that might jog your memory years after the fact in court.

2. One journal entry per person per document. Three people each signing four documents = 12 journal entries, not three and not one using the squeeze it all in method. Those signatures and thumbprints that you could keep in your journal are evidence that might be used in court – treat it as such!

3. Make sure your journal is locked up and stored properly after it is filled up. There are 512 entries per journal, so make sure you have extra blank journals for when you need them.

California actually inspects Notary journals regularly. If you live in California you need to know this. They can have you copy and mail your journal entries from a particular date range. If you are not following proper procedure based on what they currently want (ask them not me what they want) then they can suspend you. California suspends or revokes many notary commissions due to exactly this reason. Additionally, the rules keep changing so keep up with the times, man.

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August 18, 2019

Here is why you should keep a journal…

Filed under: Carmen Towles — admin @ 11:40 pm

I was speaking with one of my notary colleagues and I don’t know how the topic of journals came up but it did. This notary lives and works in Florida and they are not required to keep a journal but he does. He says that he always has since day one. He says that it has saved him on more than one occasion.

He shared with me a couple of incidents that he felt have saved him from wasted time, lawsuits and lawyer fees. After a 5 year old notarization, he received a call from an attorney that wanted to know if he remembered notarizing for a Haitian woman whom he had met with. Typically he doesn’t remember them after a few years but he did remember her. The lawyer went on to tell him that the woman had since passed and the son was contesting the POA he had notarized, He said that his mother would not have signed such a document. It seems she had given one of the other sibling POA and this angered him. So, the notary found the journal entry, made a copy and sent to the attorney and that was the end of it. He never heard from him again.

On another occasion he actually received a subpoena and had to actually appear in court. It seems this was around the time of option arm loans and subprime. In any case, the signers of the loan were claiming fraud on the lenders part. Because no-one is required in Florida to keep a journal he was not asked for a journal entry. However, on the day of his court appearance he brought along his journal. Upon taking the stand to be questioned, he mentioned to the judge that not only did they appear before him and indeed sign the loan documents, he had journal entries along with thumbprints to prove it. The judge looked at the journal and in annoyance banged his gavel and said case dismissed. Pay your bills he directed to the borrower/signers.

Now think about this; what if in both these occasions he had not had a journal to prove that these people had met with him. Both these cases had the potential to drag on for weeks perhaps even months.

So moral of the story, PLEASE keep a journal for your own (and others) protection. For most states this is not a requirement. And, if your are precluded/prohibited form keeping one (Texas comes to mind) then by all means follow the rules/laws of your state. But for the rest of you that have no such restriction please keep a journal. It is so worth the extra effort. The benefits for out weigh the expense (buying journals) and the extra time required too fill them out. A journal could save your life…..

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