You searched for fail - Notary Blog - Signing Tips, Marketing Tips, General Notary Advice - 123notary.com
123Notary

Notary Blog – Signing Tips, Marketing Tips, General Notary Advice – 123notary.com Control Panel

February 15, 2019

Notaries who fail the California Notary exam

Failing the California Notary Exam
Did you fail your California Notary Exam? I passed it many years ago. I studied about 30 hours to make sure I passed the first time. I was nervous and so afraid that I would forget something. We were instructed to bring a see through plastic bag and put particular objects in that bag such as a pencil and a few other things.

The California notary exam is a a lot harder now than in 1997 and 2001 when I took it. The questions are harder, and the multiple choice questions are close variations of each other making it hard to spot the correct answer unless you know your stuff intimately. So study hard. You need to study from the California Notary Handbook but also there are updates on the newsletter from the California Notary Division.

The state carefully hides their questions so you won’t know what is coming unless you know someone who wants to share answers with you. You need to know your notary acts, fees, procedures and application process inside out or you will fail. I believe they allow seven wrong out of thirty, but the questions are so hard that is still not easy.

There are a lot of notaries failing the test and there are fewer Notaries in the state of California as a result. On a more pleasant note, the quality of Notaries in California is far superior to all other states. I know because I test people by phone on notary procedure since I run a notary directory.

You might also like:

Has anyone failed the notary exam?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=1999

NNA certified signers who failed our test
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=892

Share
>

September 25, 2018

Penalties for Notary misconduct, fraud, and failure of duty

Filed under: Notary Mistakes — Tags: , , — admin @ 11:23 am

Notaries by and large do not willfully engage in any type of illegal activity or illegal notarizations. The normal types of crimes Notaries commit are due to complete ignorance of Notary procedure, Oaths, and certificates. The only serious and purposeful crime I have ever heard of a Notary associated with us committing was one that assisted someone in fraud concerning real property — and the Notary ended up in jail. Please keep in mind that Notary law is different in every state and changes all the time as well. Penalties and fines for Notary misconduct are different in each state, California being the most stringent.

Negligent vs. Willful Misconduct

In California, the penalties are much more severe for Notaries who have engaged in willful misconduct rather than just making a careless mistake or omission.

Failure to keep your seal & journal under lock and key.
In California this is very serious and is a crime. You can keep your Notary equipment in a bag with a small lock that locks the zippers together. If you are the only one with access to your car, then the trunk of your car could work as well.

Unauthorized Practice of Law
The definition of UPL differs from state to state. However, offering opinions on legal matters or offering to draft legal documents might constitute UPL. For a professional opinion — ask an Attorney!

Asking a notary to do an improper notarization.
This is a misdemeanor in California. If it involves real property, then it is much more serious. Clients might ask you to notarize their signature using a different name variation that is not documented on their identification, or put a false date. This is illegal. They would guilty for asking you to do this, and you would be guilty if you give in to their pressure. If you have driven forty minutes to a signing job, in a sense you have a beneficial interest in notarizing their document unless you have gotten your travel fee up front when you walk in the door. So, to be prudent and avoid this issue, you MUST get your travel fee BEFORE you see the document, or are informed who the signers are, or see their ID, because a conflict of interest can easily happen. If someone asks you to do something illegal, you can threaten to report them to the Secretary of State’s office. This is a serious crime and you should treat it as such.

Issuing a false certificate
A notary who signs and seals false certificates, and this could include backdated certificates would be guilty of a misdemeanor. A false Acknowledgment certificate constitutes FORGERY. Additionally, the notary public could have their commission revoked if found guilty of this crime, with an additional fine of $1500 per incident in California (fines change over time so look this up in the statues).

Failure to Identify a Credible Witness
A fine of $10,000 per incident could occur if a notary fails to check a credible witness’s identification documents and see that they have acceptable identification.

Failure to get a thumbprint!!!
This is my favorite. Thumbprints are critical for identifying a signer if fraud is suspected. Powers of Attorney and Deeds require a journal thumbprint in California. A fine of up to $2500 per incident would be the penalty. Most other states do not require thumbprints, and Texas and Florida actually recommend against thumbprinting as those states do not trust Notaries with biometric data which is the only foolproof way to identify a signer. How ironic!

Failure to administer an Oath
A fine of $750 per incident could be incurred, not to mention revocation, or suspension of a notary commission, or refusal to grant a commission. I heard that some Notaries in Oklahoma had to go to court for a loan document signing in question. The Judge found out that the Notaries had not administered Oaths on the Affidavits in the loan package. I heard that the Judge overturned the loan and had the Notaries commissions permanently revoked by their state.

Felony Convictions
If you have a felony conviction or have been convicted of a crime involving dishonesty or moral turpitude, you will most likely not be allowed to get a notary commission in the first place. If you already had a notary commission, it would be suspended or revoked the minute your state’s ntoary division finds out about it!

Professional Misconduct
This refers to dishonesty in your professional activities. The penalty would once again be suspension, revocation, or refusal to grant a notary commission.

Failure of Duty
This means that you refuse to serve a member of the public who has a legitimate request for a notarization. However, if the signer doesn’t have proper identification, or doesn’t have a properly filled out document, or seems very questionable, you have the right to refuse service to such a client. The penalty would be refusal to grant a notary commission, suspension, or revocation of a notary commission. Additionally a fine of $750 could be imposed on the California notary public.

Falsely Acting as a Notary
This is a misdemeanor. Borrowing someone’s Notary seal and doing Notary work is a serious crime. If you are a Notary, keep your seal and journal locked up.

Making false statements to a notary
Anyone who induces a notary to make an improper notarization with regards to real property can be found guilty of a FELONY. This is the most serious type of fraud possible in the notary profession.

False or misleading notary advertising
Making false statements in notary advertising is illegal, and the penalty for a California Notary is $1500 per incident. Additionally, such a notary’s commission could be suspended, revoked, terminated, or there could be a refusal to issue a commission. Claiming to be an immigration expert, or be able to give legal advice could be a serious example of false advertising and perhaps unauthorized practice of law.

Selling personal information
It is illegal for the notary sells or misuses personal information of those he/she has notarized. Remember to keep your journals locked up, so that nobody can have access to that information. When making copies of journal entries, make sure that the neighboring journal entries are covered, so that their information is not shared with the public. Once again, your application could be denied, or your commission could be revoked or suspended for this type of crime.

Misstatements on a notary application (Application misstatement)
Your notary commission could be suspended, revoked, or refused if you are guilty of this misconduct

Here are some other crimes… I will just list them here, but may or may not describe the penalties.

Failure to deliver a journal to the county clerk at the end of your commission. – misdemeanor
Failure to safeguard seal and journal – revoke/suspend/refuse
Failure to report a lost or damaged seal – $1500 fine
Nonpayment of judgement / Refusal to pay child support – refusal to issue a commission
Failure to keep a journal – such notaries will be prosecuted

There are a few others laws that I am not going to mention, but these were the interesting ones…

You might also like:

A Notary loses $4000 in legal fees because someone changed a name on a certificate

Notary loses $4000 in legal fees because fraud adds name to Acknowledgment certificate.

All you need to know about notary work

All you need to know about notary work

How to complain about a notary public

How to complain about a notary public

Notary Fines and Penalties

Notary Fines & Notary Penalties (gulp)

Fraud and Forgery in the Notary Profession

Fraud & Forgery related to the notary profession

Notary Public General Information

Notary Public Information

Share
>

December 7, 2011

Has anyone failed the notary exam?

Has anyone failed the notary exam? 

Each different state has a different notary application and different standards for who can become a notary. Generally you need to be a legal resident of the state in question, or at least working in that state.  You need to be 18 years of age or older as well, and not be a felon.  But, testing standards vary state to state. But, you might ask, “What do I do if I fail the notary exam?”
 
Louisiana notary exam
Louisiana has a tough test, and weird commission standards. You are commissioned for life there, but you can only work in one Parish, unless you have a special commission that allows you to work in several reciprocal Parishes (how complicated).  Most states allow statewide jurisdiction.
 
California notary exam… 

The California test used to be reasonably passable, but in recent years, it has become tougher and tougher and the result is that fewer people are becoming notaries.  There is a proctored examination and it is timed as well. Good luck and make sure to take the six hour required course from a state approved vendor
 
New York notary exam..
New York
also has a notary exam.  I have heard that it is not as hard as California’s, but you should study hard in any case.
 
Failing the test?
If you fail your state’s notary exam, each state has different rules for when you can take it again.  BTW, many states don’t have a notary exam to begin with, but they should, because there is a lot to know about this line of work, and the states should make sure that people know what they are doing.  Even people who pass the test still don’t have a clue how to deal with many daily and practical situations.  Most states will allow you to take the exam again.  The main point is to study hard and review a lot before attempting the test.  Also, take a seminar, even if you have to take it twice.  You will absorb what you were taught there, and need that knowledge for the life of your commission. 
 
Is there a fee for taking the exam again?
Most if not all states will want to charge you and make you fill out more paperwork to take the notary exam another time.  So, find out how they want you to make your check out, and where to go.

You might also like:

Why notaries don’t last
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4087

Notaries who failed the California notary exam
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=21433

Share
>

May 27, 2011

NNA Certified Signers who failed our test!

NNA Certified Signing Agents who failed our test!

This story goes back many years, perhaps close to a decade.  123notary.com started off very simply without much technology.  We couldn’t afford to do any more than barely build the site back in those days.  I had to decide whether to have a certification or not.  It looked more professional if we had our own certification. But, it has always been like pulling teeth to convince the NNA certified signers to even consider taking our test.
 
Notaries couldn’t answer simple questions without a long pause.
In the old days, we used to give our certification test by phone. It was a dozen or so basic questions about loan signing that any mediocre signing agent with hardly any experience could probably answer.  What I noticed is that those who passed the National Notary Association’s signing agent exam (NNA certified signers) failed our test roughly 70% of the time.  There was a lot of “umm” and “ahm”, and “hmmm” during the phone exam.  Their CSA exam was open book and without any time limit, so they were used to being able to get away with thinking forever to answer simple questions such as, “Where can you find the Rate in a loan”.  I can’t think of a simpler question.  The harder questions threw most people. I got sick of being patient and waiting for people to answer ridiculously easy questions.  The only thought that ran through my head was that if I were a borrower, I would throw these notaries out of my house if they couldn’t answer simple questions.
 
The timed test
So, then we got some fancy programming done and made an online test.  I was tired of waiting two minutes for the answers to simple questions, so a timed test was the only way for the notaries to prove their manhood or ladyhood. There were revolving questions and a timer. We had a few technical problems along the way, and many didn’t like my style of questions.  As time progressed, we got rid of the “ambiguous” questions, and added a few practical marketing questions.  We also tried to have questions specific to the state where the notary claimed to be, but that turned out to be unpopular, so we dropped it eventually.    The bottom line, was that most notaries couldn’t handle the time pressure — even the NNA certified signing agents.
 
The ex-Mortgage broker’s story
I had a few people who worked in Title or Mortgage houses who assured me that it was a joke that they even had to take my exam.  After all, they had been doing this for 20 years.  So, many people (including NNA certified signers) tried to convince me that they didn’t NEED to take my dumb exam.  Almost all of these overly confident know-it-alls FAILED my test, and then wasted my time arguing with me.  They didn’t read the prep book, and they didn’t know their basics about loan signing regardless of their background.  There is a lot of overlap between Title and Mortgage work and loan signing, but there are additional things you need to know to be a good signer. It is a different profession.
 
What does our test prove?
Roughly 25% of our notaries on board have passed our basic certification exam. The others either failed, or never tried in the first place. If people had spent the same amount of time studying for the test as they did arguing with us about why they shouldn’t have to take the test, their business would be a lot different.  123notary certification proves that you know your basics, and that you can function under extreme time pressure without breaking. That says a lot.  Most people can not handle the pressure.  When I created the test, I could pass it in three minutes and Carmen passed it in four and a half minutes.  Test takers were allowed six and a half minutes to ensure that the majority who studied hard would pass the first time.
 
Does it matter what you think about our test?
What I think about my test, or what you or Carmen think about my test doesn’t matter even slightly.  The browsers care tremendously about my test, and (news flash!) they are the ones who are paying you.  123notary certified signers are three times as likely to get work.  Even browsers who didn’t know what the certification meant, and who had a regular document to be signed like an affidavit which had nothing to do with loan signing still chose certified signers if they could.  Ten years ago, I used 123notary as my primary source of marketing my personal mobile notary work.  Time after time I got called at 11pm to notarize a simple form.  I kept hearing, “We chose you because you were certified and the others were not”.

You might also like:

Notaries who failed the California notary exam
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=21433

Roseanne called the NNA when she thought she as calling the NRA
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20503

Need an NNA Alternative?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19234

For background checks, NNA & Sterling come highly recommended
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=18835

Notary Etiquette from A to Z
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=300

From 3 jobs per week to 3 jobs per day!

Share
>

October 27, 2010

Stories of notaries that fail and what they did wrong.

Here are some stories about notaries who did no-no’s and what happened.

(1) A CA notary accepted a loan signing from a signing company. The notary waited until 30 minutes after their appt. began to call them & tell them that her car broke down and ASKS THE BORROWERS FOR A RIDE!! The borrowers graciously offer the notary a ride, but it gets better!!

The notary asks if they can stop at Kinkos to print docs. Then, the notary asks the borrowers to pay for the printing fees since the notary was flat broke. The husband borrower got put off and called the loan officer. The LO told the husband to GET OUT OF THERE and leave the notary @Kinkos.

The next day, the notary calls the loan officer and told him that the wife had to work late which is why they didn’t complete the signing, but that they would complete it tonight. The notary thought the signing company wouldn’t find out what happened. This is pure insanity.See More

(2) We get complaints every month about a notary who makes a mistake on a document. Then, the lender tries to contact the notary, but the notary doesn’t respond to emails or phone calls. Then, we get some lame excuse from the notary about how they were on VACATION or had some family emergency. If you are a notary, take responsibility for your work. Unless you are dead, you can still respond to an email. Wi-fi makes this possible.

(3) From time to time we get complaints about notaries who fail to return documents. The lender needs to know tracking #’s and when they can expect the documents back. Sometimes, the notaries just don’t answer their phone, or respond to email. This is the fastest way to get in trouble with 123notary and your clients. Let people know when and where you dropped their Fedex and what the tracking # is. Send them an email with the same information just to be redundant and show that you are a thorough and conscientious person.

(4) One notary arrived LATE to an appointment, didn’t handle the closing professionally, and then didn’t fax back the correct docs. The documents were also not returned properly. Can you believe this? That makes us all look bad!!!

(5) Another notary couldn’t call Title because she WORKED full time. News flash!!! — most notaries have full time jobs and do this on the side, but are able to return calls!

(6) Once in a while a notary will do a “No-show”. Some of these non-showing notaries will also ignore emails and phone calls from their clients. What a nightmare!

(7) An unusual case. A high quality signer who has been with us for a long time had a serious incident. He went to a signing at a Starbucks. The signers were there. Then he just disappears. I called him to see what had happened. He got a call from his wife that his daughter had hit her head. A parent’s nightmare!!! So, he panicked, and left without even telling the borrowers what had happened.

Where do we draw the line at family emergencies? This is a tough call for all of us.

Tweets:
(1) From time to time we get complaints about notaries who didn’t return docs. Let them know the tracking #.
(2) One notary couldn’t return a call because she had a full-time job. Do you buy this?

You might also like:

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

Just say no #2

Notary etiquette from A to Z

Best materials from our forum

California notaries with complaints

Share
>

May 30, 2020

Are you in a good enough state of mind for Notary questions?

Filed under: Certification & Communication Skills — admin @ 10:10 pm

If you are a professional, you should be able to handle professional questions in your sleep. Particularly if they are routine questions.

I have stopped phone testing people partly because people hate it so much, partly because it is so disturbing to me, and partly because it is so time consuming. Last, the companies that use 123notary care about the knowledge level of the notary, but they don’t care enough for me to merit training and testing people who didn’t pay for a program.

During the days when I was testing, people got mad because I called when they were not in a good state of mind. They were sleepy, busy, with friends, going to the hospital, and this was somehow my fault. They are “professionals” and they answered their phone, yet they could not talk about intelligent topics with me.

Is the problem your state of mind or is the problem that you don’t know your stuff and don’t have the discipline to learn your stuff or act professional over the phone.

Notaries want to get paid more, but I can make a list of Notaries who merit getting paid more. Those are people who are elite certified by us. It takes discipline to master Notary knowledge the point that you can pass that test. Those who are faking it will fail miserably. Getting 95% on Notary questions under time pressure narrows the population down to a fraction of a percent. Why the others cannot function with that level of knowledge is beyond me — after all, that is their profession.

Take your profession seriously and professionally. Don’t just claim to be professional because that sounds phony and corny. Master Notary knowledge. There is not that much to know, and if you got through college, this is much easier than college.

Share
>

May 5, 2020

Squirrels and notes sections – they all look the same

Filed under: Your Notes Section — admin @ 9:39 am

I often wonder how squirrels tell each other apart. “Hey, who stole my acorn? Was it you?” I have this same mistake with Chinese girls. “Hi, Cindy.” “Like, I’m not Cindy.” “Oh… (pause) Awkward.”

But, people’s notes sections on the various notary directories look fairly generic as well. They talk about their NNA certification. They mention they are background screened but fail to say by whom. They mention they have E&O, but omit to say how much. And they mention that they “travel”, but don’t mention how far. A few mention that they will jump for clients, but once again leave out — how high.

Then there are those who brag about how dependable they are and how they have a .001% error rate. There is no point in mentioning any of this because anyone can claim this, but claiming it not only doesn’t make it true, but makes you look inexpensive and like a novice.

Can you make your notes section stand out? Can you put some cold hard information and something unique that makes you look different from the other Notaries jumping from branch to branch doing job after job? Take this seriously and put some time into it because uniqueness enhances your click ratio which translates into more work!

Share
>

April 8, 2020

Notarizing on a quarantined cruise ship

Filed under: General Stories — admin @ 8:23 am

Can you imagine being called in to do a notary job on a quarantined cruise ship? What if you contract the virus just by being there? You might have to put on a haz-mat suit and then be showered down when leaving the site. Let’s imagine Joe the Notary goes to a ship to do a notary gig.

JOE: I’m here. What do I need to do.

CLERK: You need to go on the ship, and visit suite D-15. Here, wear this suit.

JOE: Honestly I look better in gray.

CLERK: This is all we have. Do you want to risk getting the virus or not.

JOE: Now that you put it that way… uh… uh… uh… achoo!!!

CLERK: Oh no, you didn’t use your elbow to cover your cough. We will have to wipe your hand down. Okay, you are good now.

JOE: Hello, where do I go now?

CLERK 2: First of all, give me an elbow bump. We call this a Covid-bump and it’s cute.

JOE: Oh, is this a black thing?

CLERK 2: No, it’s a not getting infected thing.

JOE: Got it.

CLERK 2: Go down this plank and then down the stairs, then take a right.

JOE: I think this is floor D, now where is 15. Here it is. Knock knock.

INFECTED PERSON: Hi, I am Fred. I am going to swear that I have been infected with Covid-19 and therefor need medical care.

JOE: Okay, let me get out my journal. Uh-oh. I will have to take off the hazmat suit to get to my journal. Now, I can’t notarize you. How do I get into these situations. Oh, I’ll let a clerk help me.

CLERK 3: Okay, so you want me to remove the journal from that bag?

JOE: Nice and easy with no sudden movements…. Good. Fred, please sign there. Now, do you solemnly swear that you are infected with Covid-19 and need medical care as a result?

INFECTED PERSON: I do

JOE: I now pronounce you man and disease. Here is a statement stating that we did our Oath today. Now, are you going to pay me with infected bills and have me touch elevator buttons that are infected too?

CLERK 3: We thought of that already. We disinfect the elevator regularly. I can spray down those bills with lysol as well.

JOE: Good, because I don’t want Andrew Jackson getting infected at his age. Okay, looks like our work is done. Back to civilization. Is the air I’m breathing sanitiary?

CLERK 3: That is above my pay grade. At this point all we can do is pray.

JOE: How comforting. If all else fails, rely on God. Sounds like words to live by. Good luck and get better. I heard that respirators are the way to health with this disease.

Share
>

April 7, 2020

Lose the attitude…

Filed under: Carmen Towles — admin @ 8:46 am

Many notaries come to me for advise and assistance with notary and loan signing procedures. On occasion I get folks that have a chip on their shoulder for whatever reason. I know this ’notary signing agent business’ can be perplexing and just plain hard to break into. The main problem is that most folks that come into to this profession are not sufficiently trained in their states notarial procedures. So when notaries reach out with questions it is for some of the most basic notarial acts. Things truthfully, they should just know. This is the Secretary of States job which most have failed miserably. Many states don’t have any examples of where to place their stamp or even how to fill out an acknowledgment or jurat but many do and its worth it to look into their handbooks to check.

On this particular occasion, a notary texted me a copy of a jurat and had no clue as to where to place her seal despite the fact to me at least it was obvious that these was a ton of space to the left of her signature. She asked me if this is where she ws to affix her seal. I wrote back 2 word only; ‘Ummm, yes’. I mean where else would you put it. It was the most basic part of her job that she should know. She wrote back quite annoyed that how was she supposed to know this?, blah, blah, blah. Well, how about for starters, getting your notary handbook out and giving it a try, Most folks just focus on loan signing without preparing for what’s really important. THE NOTARIZATIONS!!!

She went on to rant in a text that this is why folks are afraid to ask questions. Well guess what?, you better ask questions. Being a notary can be costly for you and the person you are notarizing signature on documents for. She stated that I sounded annoyed and she was sorry to bother me and that was that. Folks getting an attitude is not helping the situation at all. You had better get all your questions answered and know what you are doing BEFORE you touch anybody’s documents for your sake and theirs. If you don’t ,you will pay the price in more ways than one. And if a little “Ummm”, was enough to set you off then maybe you need to rethink this whole notary signing agent thing.

Why anybody wants to get into this profession without knowing everything about it is beyond me.

Share
>

January 8, 2020

Being a comedian is similar to being an athelete

Filed under: Humorous Posts — admin @ 9:22 am

Being a comedian is similar to being an athlete. An athlete could fall and have an injury which might takes months to heal. But, a comedian might tell a bad joke and his pride could be hurt for years. A Notary is in a similar situation. For California notaries, the test you have to take every four years keeps getting harder. Some keep failing it time after time. It looks like all of these professions have more in common with each other that we previously thought.

Share
>
Older Posts »