Should a Notary notarize every page of a document? How can a Notary or signer safeguard themselves from someone swapping pages in a document after the notarization has taken place? You need answers! Here they are!
1. A Notary Public notarizes signatures on documents, not pages on documents. A particular page or pages might have notary certificates within a document. Or, a certificate could be stapled to the back of a document. Ideally that certificate should identify the corresponding document. If you have a ten page document, there will most likely only be one, and possibly two pages with notary wording.
2. A prudent Notary Public carries what is called an inkless embosser that leaves a raised seal impression. This is in ADDITION to having the legally required inked seal that is used with blank ink. The embosser can be used to emboss every single page in a notarized document. I did exactly that on everything I notarized even if there were 100 pages. I did this for safety reasons. I did not want people to get away with switching pages after the fact and dragging me into court as a result of someone else not liking the idea that a page was swapped.
3. If a signer swaps a page from a notarized document, and that page was embossed, they can still swap the page. However, it will not be legal, and it will be very obvious to the Notary Public if investigated that the new page was not part of the original notarization as the notary embosses all pages — if the notary indeed was the type of notary who embossed all pages — like me!
4. Some people initial all pages. Initialing is a type of precaution. But, initials can be forged easily, and it is sometimes not easy to tell if they were forged.
5. If a document had a page swapped, the staple and staple area in the pages might show evidence of tampering. The degree of evidence depends on how skillful the fraud was at swapping pages. Luckly in my career of 6000 Notary appointments I did not have this issue.
6. If you need to add a page to an already notarized document. What can you do? You have to notarize the entire document all over again. I had that happen. What a pain. The signer wasn’t happy. Sorry — just following the law!
You might also like:
Notarizing Multi-Page Documents 2011 edition
Sending loose certificates is illegal
Penalties for misconduct, fraud and failure of duty
How often do Notaries end up in court?