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October 27, 2018

All Mortgage fraud is investigated by the FBI

Filed under: Popular on Twitter,Technical & Legal — Tags: , , — admin @ 10:17 am

The FBI is federal and your state is local. So, if your state doesn’t require a journal, you notarize a fraudulent mortgage, and then get investigated, then the feds will be investigating you. If you don’t keep a journal which is your only evidence that showed who you notarized, you will have no evidence.

Additionally if someone copies your seal and impersonates you, and you don’t keep a journal, you will have no proof or way of knowing if you were the one who notarized the transaction or whether an imposter did. These are some of the many reasons you need a journal. The excuse, “My state doesn’t require a journal.” Might not cut it with a Federal agency, because a Federal agency goes by Federal guidelines not the backwards rules of your state.

The FBI can name you as a suspect and if you don’t keep a journal it looks like you are doing a cover up for fraud and are in cahoots with the Lender. It looks like you are hiding evidence.

Additionally, the FBI needs forensic or biometric evidence. Texas and Florida discourage or prohibit taking such evidence. If you show the FBI a line in your journal that has a fake name, fake ID serial number, fake address and fake signature, how will this help the FBI catch anyone? Try to think from their perspective. They are trying to catch people who are ruining dozens or hundreds of peoples’ lives. If you are a concerned citizen, you might try really thinking hard about this. Taking journal thumbprints is a foolproof way to identify signers. Whether you do this or not is something I cannot advise, but there are serious consequences to not keeping thumbprints — consequences for the safety of society.

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You might also like:

Penalties for Notary misconduct, fraud and failure of duty
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=21315

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

My stolen identity and the fraudulent notary seal
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20753

Fraud – The 30 point course discusses this issue
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=14514

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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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September 12, 2017

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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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 4, 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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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…..

You might also like:

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

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

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June 11, 2019

A Los Angeles detective seizes two journals and complains about a blurry thumbprint

Filed under: Notary Mistakes — admin @ 10:14 pm

Yes people, it really happened. A Los Angeles Notary notarized the wrong person. That person was committing some type of fraud. The next thing you know, some detectives were banging on her door. She had to let them have two of her journals. But, that was not good enough for the detectives. They went through a long whining session.

One of the thumbprints taken by the Notary was blurry. How can you do forensics on a blurry thumbprint? Why was that Notary so lazy that they could not take a proper thumbprint? It’s not rocket science — you just push down — and that’s it. Take thumb, press down in ink pad, rise thumb, press straight down on journal thumbprint designated space, feel good, that’s all.

Then on another journal entry, there was no thumbprint, and trust me, the detectives complained a whole lot about that.

So, if you are Notaries and say, “You’re being too picky Jeremy, and besides, my state doesn’t require that.” There are real reasons why I make the recommendations that I do, and it is not just to give you a hard time. You can get in real trouble without thumbprints and proper journal work. Don’t let it happen to you.

You might also like:

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

All Mortgage fraud is investigated by the FBI
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20995

Scenarios – the FBI is at your door and wants your journal
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20013

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

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February 27, 2019

Notary Public Journal

NOTARY JOURNALS

Not all states require maintaning an official journal of Notarial acts, but 123notary requires it as that is the only evidence you have should you go to court or get investigated. There are identity thieves and cons all over the place. They might pretend to be a home owner to steal that person’s equity or con grandma into giving her fortune away to some crooks. If your notarization ever winds up to court, your journal is the only record of what happened and who signed what, etc. Most Notaries think keeping a journal is an annoying task that they do because their state requires it. It is the same attitude that children have towards doing their homework at age seven. But, your journal can save your neck, and I know many whose hides have been saved who ended up in court.

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ONE JOURNAL ENTRY PER PERSON PER DOCUMENT

Most Notaries think that you create one entry for each signer and then cram in the names of all of the documents you are notarizing in that transaction. This is a very sloppy practice. If you pick up five packages from FedEx, do you sign once or do you sign five times, each for a particular tracking number? If you keep one journal entry per person per document, then you have a signature proving consent to be notarized for each document you notarize. Additionally, you must name the particular and complete name of each document, and not just say “loan docs.”

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INFORMATION

In your Notary Public Journal, you need to record the:

Full name of the document, not an abbreviation.

Date & Time of Notarization – Just consult your iPhone for this one.

Type of Notary Act – This might be Acknowledgment, Jurat, Oath, Affirmation, or another Notary act allowed in your state.

Document Date — many documents have a document date inscribed within that is an arbitrary date created by the document drafter. It could be the date the document was drafted, or the date it was intended to be signed, or a random arbitrary date.

Name & Address of Signer – Write down the name as it appears in the identification card.

Identification – Record the serial number, state and expiration date of the identification card.

Other distinguishing factors — if you are signing multiple documents with the same name such as Deeds of Trust, Grant Deeds, etc., you need to differentiate them somehow. Escrow numbers, names of grantors, grantees, APN numbers, property addresses, number of pages, or anything else can help identify a document after the fact in case you end up in court.

Signatures — each line of your journal needs to be signed by the corresponding person. If John and Sally are each signing three notarized documents, then John gets entry 1, 2, and 3 while sally gets 4, 5, and 6. Each signer must sign their three entries otherwise the entries are meaningless.

Thumbprints — I am skipping mentioning more about the other things that belong in a journal as most Notaries get it, however, few Notaries keep thumbprints. Your journal thumbprint is the one piece of evidence the FBI will ask for when they come knocking on your front door. Additionally, it discourages fraud as fraudulent people do not want to be thumbprinted.

Other Information — Although I am skipping elaborating about the other journal fields, I will make a quick note about the additional information section in a journal. That leaves space for information about credible witnesses, subscribing witnesses, unusual facts about the signers, the location, or the circumstances in which you are signing. If the signer claims that they are being kidnapped, write that down in the additional information section of your journal, then call the police. If the signer has a weird neck tattoo, you might need to remember that in court. Put it in your journal. The judge will think you are a very thorough Notary.

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FINAL NOTE

The purpose of journals is not only to please your state’s Secretary of State, but also to please judges, attorneys, investigators and FBI agents. Keeping a clean, correct and thorough journal will make a positive impression on the authorities and could keep you from being named as a suspect if God forbid you ever unknowingly Notarize an identity thief, fraud, or otherwise bad person. Notaries don’t get in trouble that often, but for those who make a career out of being a Notary, eventually you will be investigated at least once and perhaps end up in court, so keep your paperwork in order so the investigation is fast and smooth. Otherwise you might end up in court for a very long time — no joke! Roughly 1/7 of the Notaries on our site have had to spend time in court due to something that they notarized.

You might also like:

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

Journal abbreviation keys
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19441

Comparing Journal Entries to FedEx Signatures
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19375

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February 17, 2019

Can a Notary get in trouble?

Can a Notary Public get in trouble? Can a Notary get in legal trouble? The answer is yes, but it might surprise you how it happens.

In my experience running a site where we have listed 55,000 Notaries to date, the only Notaries I have heard of who ended up in jail willfully engaged in very serious fraud involving real property. They falsified documents in order to steal property basically. This is the worst thing a notary can do and the penalties can be ten or more years in prison.

However there are other things a Notary can do where they might get fined, lose their commission, or get reprimanded.

1. A California Notary must maintain a journal to the standards of the state. The state of California audits Notary journals regularly by asking Notaries to mail in particular copies of pages of their journal If you are putting more than one document per journal entry, missing signatures, thumbprints (if applicable) or anything else, you can get a warning, get fined, or lose your commission for good. If you rely on your notary commission to make a living, obey the laws of the state — they will check up on you.

2. Falsifying a date in a notary certificate. Don’t do that. It is fraud. It might help your signer, and they might bribe you but you could lose your commission over that.

3. Omitting an Oath. Most Notaries think administering Oaths is a joke. If you get caught by a judge for failing to administer an Oath you could get fined, lose your commission, or possibly go to jail for perjury if you issued a written statement stating that an Oath had indeed been issued.

4. Goofing on your notary test with 123notary. The worst thing that can happen is that we might want you to study up and try again.

5. Sending a loose certificate in the mail. Very illegal, but people will ask you to do this. You can lose your commission over just one incident so don’t do it.

6. You might notarize someone who is John W Smith in the document but whose ID says John Smith and you might be notarizing the wrong person who is committing fraud.

But, there are other ways a Notary can get in trouble that are not the fault of the Notary.

1. Someone could give you a false ID and impersonate someone else. You might end up in court because of this, but as a witness not a defendant.

2. The FBI might investigate fraud that was done by a signer or someone impersonating you.

3. Someone can copy the impression of your notary seal and make a false certificate using it.

4. Someone you notarize might have a real ID, but have the same exact name as someone else and impersonate them.

5. An elderly person might be getting taken advantage that you notarized. They might not remember much in court so make sure your elder signers know what is going on. It is still risky if they know what is going on because by the time they get to court they might be completely senile.

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