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April 8, 2018

An Absurd Forgery of “my” Notarization

Filed under: Ken Edelstein — admin @ 11:17 am

An Absurd Forgery of “my” Notarization

I have just been speaking with an insurance company investigator. When the caller identified themselves I took the precaution of verifying the caller via several methods. Once convinced of the caller identity the facts were relayed to me. I then proved the document to be a forgery.

There were several interesting aspects to this particular identity thief. They managed to swindle a car dealership in the Midwest using a notary stamp clearly purporting to represent a New York notary – me. The stamp, to any New York notary appeared false, having both improper information (my address) and lacking required information (the primary county of my registry).

Thus, so far, the stamp is being “used” outside of its lawful jurisdiction and was improperly designed.

Now for the truly strange aspect: The document was a very brief Power of Attorney, ostensibly from the owner giving the Principal the right to receive the vehicle and register it. The seriously weird part was that the “notary” also was the Agent who received the authority.

I don’t know the notary rules where you are reading this, but I would guess that the applicable New York notary laws probably apply where you are reading these words.

To the best of my understanding (and common sense) the notary is not permitted to either be a part of the transaction nor have a financial interest in its outcome.

Strike One: The notary stamp is formulated improperly (of course the general public won’t know)
Strike Two: The notarization is taking place outside of the state indicated.
Strike Three: The forger forged the Principals signature and the Notary signature to make them the Agent at the car dealership and did indeed receive the vehicle.

Not wise in my opinion as the registration leaves footprints and a vehicle license plate to be caught.

So where am I going with this? We, as both active notaries and users of notary services are well aware of the various regulations that are applicable. So, rather than keeping that knowledge to ourselves, I ask the notaries to add “mini lessons” to their clients to educate them about the basics of notary law. The public will easily grasp the concept that a notary stamp that includes the name of a state can only be used within that state. They can also be informed that the notary must be totally “outside” of the transaction, not part of it in any way; especially with any financial or other gain.

Two simple concepts that would take but a moment to explain. As “officers of the court” holding commissions we have a duty to serve the public, not just collect fees from them.

You might also like:

Fraud & Forgery in the notary profession
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=2294

Notarizing multi-page documents
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=21423

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February 6, 2012

Fraud & Forgery related to the notary profession

Fraud and Forgery in the notary business 

There are many types of fraud that a notary might run into in their notarial career, forgery being one of the more common types of fraud. But, let’s take a closer look at what specific types of things could happen.
 
(1) Someone could forge your seal and pretend to be you.  It happened to me.  Unfortunately for them, they didn’t forge my signature very well, and didn’t copy my style of embossing every page either.  Putting technicalities aside, I bet they were not able to forge my quirky sense of humor either.  Notary seal forgery is not common. In my case, I think they used a really good photocopier.  BTW, a photocopier can NOT copy the RAISED impression of an inkless embossed seal which is why I used it on all of my notarizations.
 
(2) Page swapping — the old bait and switch routine.  I got called to notarize many multi-page documents. I put my embossing seal through all of the pages leaving a raised impression on each page.  I usually did these individually. Sometimes it is better to do all pages together so the seal goes through the same location in each page.  However, the seal comes out more clearly if you go page by page.  In any case, if you see a ten page document where all of the pages EXCEPT for page four are embossed, that would raise my eyebrows.  I have had many situations, where the signer wants me to give them another acknowledgment certificate for a new page they are adding to the document. I tell them that I have to notarize their signature ALL OVER AGAIN, and that is the law no matter how many times you say, “Oh, come on”.  With that attitude you might as well notarize your own signature as a non-notary!
 
(3) Title companies have a common practice of initialing for the borrower if the borrower misses an initial. It is “easier” than sending the documents back to the borrower.  Whether it is signature forgery to forge initials is a matter for an attorney to decide, but it seems pretty illegal to me to engage in initial forgery. I don’t think that anyone audits loan documents to see if anyone is engaging in initial forgery, but perhaps they should — many Title companies might get busted or investigated at a minimum.
 
(4) Refusal to be thumbprinted?  You must be up to something if you don’t want your thumbprint recorded. Maybe you have a fake identification card, right?  You can fake an ID, but you can not fake a thumbprint.
 
(5) Signature forgery.  If someone forged a signature on a document, they will have to have a fake ID and forge the same signature on the ID and in your journal. It would be a tough crime to pull off. I think that nobody in their right mind would attempt this.  Normally, people try to do crimes of fraud in private, and wouldn’t be willing to let other parties see what they are doing, no matter what!
 
(6) Notarizing out of state?  If you don’t have a commission in a particular state, you can not notarize there, with a few exceptions. Military notaries have special rules. A Virginia notary public may notarize out of the state of Virginia, but only for documents that are to be recorded within the state of Virginia. In any case, from time to time we will hear rumors that a notary public is operating illegally in a bordering state where they are not commissioned, and people want us to enforce the rule. I tell them to report the individual to the state notary division where the Notary in question is commissioned.
 
(7) Charging more than the state maximum notary fees is illegal, and charging more travel fee than your state allows (roughly eight states have restrictions for travel fees) can get you in trouble too.
 
(8) Filling out an Acknowledgment or Jurat form when you never saw the signer and never had the signer sign your journal is a really serious act of notarial misconduct.  You can lose your commission and get fined or jailed for this.

You might also like:

Backdating from A to Z
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=2424

Notarizing multi-page documents
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=21423

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

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April 17, 2011

Seal Forgery – it happened to me!

Seal Forgery – it happened to me
I notarized a set of loan documents for a company back in 2003. It was a regular signing and nothing went wrong. You know how companies sometimes request that you send them another “Jurat” if the stamp isn’t clear on the initial one? California notary law requires that certificates be attached to the original document for security reasons. This means stapled. But, the loan companies protest whenever you ask them to send you back the document and ask why you are being so difficult. For many signing companies, the idea of obeying laws means you are being difficult. The company that forged my stamp did not ask for a loose Jurat, they were in a hurry and pulled a fast one.

I heard about it from a third party
A third party contacted me asking if I had notarized a loan package for a particular borrower. I couldn’t find the information in my journal for the specified dates, or even for the specified month. We figured that it must be a company that I had worked for before that had an impression of my seal on one of their loan documents, since I didn’t notarize that particular borrower’s loan that was in question. We had to be detectives to figure out what had happened.

Copying my seal
This company copied an impression of my seal that was on someone else’s loan, and copied it onto an Acknowledgment certificate for an entirely different loan that I had never had anything to do with. It was hard to tell since photocopiers are so good. I asked the third party to send me the notarized document and its Acknowledgment certificate. The forging job was so pathetic, it was funny when I saw it. The seal looked legitimate to my eyes, since I couldn’t tell it was copied. However, there were tell tell signs that I had not notarized this document.

(1) I always used an embosser on every page of every document. Embossers leave a raised impression in the paper. This document had no raised seal on it.
(2) The signature was a very girly signature which didn’t match mine even slightly. The lines of the signature were very curly and the i’s were dotted with cute little circles that only a girl would make like that.
(3) The acknowledgment certificate wording didn’t have the he/she/them and (s) verbiage crossed out where appropriate indicating that the person who fudged this job couldn’t have been a notary, or at least was a really pathetic notary.

I told them:
After I saw this pathetic attempt at something which is not even good enough to qualitfy as forgery, I told the third party that I had definately not notarized this and that it was fraud. Additionally, there was no journal entry to back up this job, and I took journal entries for all transactions in all cases.

My advice
If you always use an embosser on all pages of all documents, you deter the switching of pages after the fact on documents you notarized. You make it almost impossible for someone to get away with forging your notarizations. Additionally, you impress your clients with how thorough you are which can gain you more business. An embosser is less than $40, so get one today! Some states will require a government issued authentication of permission to get an embosser, so apply now!

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Notarizing a kidnapper

Do you like your job?

Fraud and Forgery related to the notary profession

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April 26, 2019

5 Benefits Of Notarizing Your Business Documents

Filed under: Other Guest Bloggers — admin @ 4:25 am

The government does trust the notary public, so their signature or seal is a valid sign of document reliability. Below are a few reasons why you need to have a notary public present when you are signing your essential business documents:

Your contracts become ‘self-authenticating.’
Under the Federal Rules of Evidence, a contract with a notary public’s seal is considered to be self-authenticated; meaning that in the case of a case, the witnesses who signed the documents need not appear in court to verify their signatures. This saves plenty of time, money and acts as a huge convenience in the witnesses favor.

They ensure that your documents are signed under the right circumstances
Technically, the notary public notarizes your signature, not the documents themselves. They are reliable witnesses to the fact that the person whose signature is on the document in question is indeed the one who signed it. They also ensure that the person who signed it was of sound mind and not under any duress. Again, the notary public has to ensure that the witnesses who sign your documents are within the legal right to do so.

Notarization provides clarity
There are many legal documents now that stipulate the way people go about their lives. A Power of attorney is required by a grandchild to make significant, life-altering decisions for their ailing grandparent, or title deeds to transfer ownership of land. With a notary public’s signature, these documents’ validity can be ascertained to avoid grey areas that cause conflicts.

Notaries ensure that the documents in question are adequately executed
All legally binding documents hold the signer to a commitment, and one of the notary public’s duties is to ensure that the signer fully acknowledges the agreements and obligations. For instance, for a will to be valid, it needs to include the signature of the testator, and those of two witnesses, plus a QLD probate process to facilitate execution. Yet, some states will require that a will be notarized for it to be valid. Again, if disputes are litigated, it is crucial to have a notary present. A court considers sworn affidavits as valid if they are notarized.

Protects you from fraud, identity theft, and other kinds of crimes
Having a notary public present during the signing of your documents provides you with the safest possible fallback plan, if not a prevention plan in the case of forgery and other serious white collar crimes. In this age of technology and sophisticated forgery schemes, you cannot go wrong by having your documents notarized. Notarization is now a major risk management tool for all kinds of businesses.

Conclusion:
Many people avoid notarization services because they are an added expense and may take time. However, with e-notarization, you get quick and more convenient services to keep your business documents risk-free.

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January 29, 2019

Can a Notary go to jail for Notary fraud?

Can a Notary go to jail for Notary fraud?
Can a Notary go to prison for Notary fraud?

Notaries very rarely end up in jail. There are many illegal things that Notaries to almost daily. However, the law seems to rarely catch up with them unless a crime is committed where there are damages. Additionally, if the crime was committed with intent to steal, embezzle, or harm someone, the Notary would be in a lot worse trouble.

Notaries typically do not administer Oaths for Jurats. Those that do, typically administer an Oath in my opinion incorrectly. I test Notaries regularly and this is how I know. It is illegal to sign a Jurat that makes you claim that you supervised an Oath when in fact you did not. That might be considered perjury, although I am not an Attorney and cannot say with any certainty. However, Notaries very rarely get in trouble for omissions in their duty.

The only time I have heard of a Notary going to jail was one who assisted in fraud involving real property. The Notary falsified paperwork, probably Deeds of some sort and helped someone steal someone else’s property. That Notary got put away for a long time.

However, Notaries end up in court regularly for things that signers did fraudulently. Some signers alter documents after they were notarized. Other signers committed identity fraud. Once in a while, someone will forge a notary seal and pretend to be a particular Notary. It is common those these acts of fraud to result in a Notary being supoenaed to court or at least being investigated.

So, unless a Notary does something intentionally to cause financial harm to another person, it is unlikely that they will end up in jail — but, then.. who knows…

You might also like:

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

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

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October 2, 2018

Facial recognition techniques can help you spot a fake ID

Filed under: Identification For Being Notarized — Tags: — admin @ 12:43 am

Newer identification cards have easily recognized security features such as raised lettering, microprinting, embedded images or holigraphic images.

However, you can feel the ID for raised lettering which is a sign of forgery. You can also feel the edges of the ID to see if layers have been added. If there is overlapping lettering, laser perforated images, or peeling lamination, you probably have a fake.

According to the blow linked NNA article, Notaries failed to spot a fake ID 28% of the time. According to me, this is why you take journal thumbprints as the thumbprint is definitive proof of identity.

You can analyze the signer’s facial features as hair styles and colors could have changed since the ID was created (or since yesterday.)
Look at the shape of the ears
Check for dimples
Verify the ridges of the eyebrows (and hope they don’t shave their eyebrows.)

In my experience, identifying women is a lot harder than men. I also feel that it would be better to have formal courses for Notaries to spot fake ID’s as the entire point of our career is to positively identify people correctly.

Please visit this NNA link as well.
https://www.nationalnotary.org/notary-bulletin/blog/2016/08/using-facial-recognition-spot-impostors

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You might also like:

Scanning bar codes on an ID in Washington State?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19729

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

Identification requirements for being Notarized
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4299

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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

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September 13, 2018

Compilation of Posts about Notary Fraud

Filed under: Compilations — Tags: , — admin @ 7:04 am

Here are some posts about Notary Fraud

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

10 risks to being a Mobile Notary Public
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19459

2011 – Penalties for misdeeds and misconduct (most popular of all)
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=2067

2018 – Penalties for Notary misconduct, fraud and failure of duty
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=21315

2012 – Fraud and forgery in the notary profession
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=2294

Notary loses $4000 because fraud adds name to the notary certificate
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19477

An identity fraud case in Florida with 13 defendents
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19449

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

Notary fraud discussed in the 30 point course
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=14514

We caught a bunch of frauds using notary verbiage
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=7096

The FBI is at your door and names you as a suspect!
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20013

Two and a half Notaries: Detering Notary fraud
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=10452

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April 2, 2018

Compilation of Mafia Related Notary Posts

Filed under: Compilations,General Stories — admin @ 10:27 pm

Here are some posts about the Mafia’s relationship with the Notary world. They are all fictional, so please do not call the FBI about this one!
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MAFIA POSTS
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The Notary, The Mafia & The Fedex Drop Box
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=6867

Tony Soprano Gets Notarized
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=14897
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RELATED POSTS
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Fraud & Forgery related to the notary profession
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=2294

I’d rather stop being a Notary than carry a gun
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=15896

Notary Housewives
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=14721

Psych Episodes (psychic detectives who fight crime)
http://blog.123notary.com/?tag=psych

We caught a bunch of frauds using Notary verbiage
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=7096

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

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MURDER RELATED POSTS
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Murder in a building a week before the signing
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19272

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January 30, 2018

The one Notary who used an embosser was the one notary that…

Filed under: Technical & Legal — Tags: , , , — admin @ 11:06 am

A week ago was the first time I ever talked to a Notary who used a secondary embossed seal. Notaries are required to use an ink seal for notarizations. However, many states will allow for a secondary non-inked embosser seal that leaves a raised impression in the paper you notarize.

The raised impression cannot be photocopied.
The raised impression is not easy to forge
The raised impression can go on each page of every document you notarized.

The purpose of the embosser is to deter people who want to swap pages in a document after it has been notarized which is tampering and illegal. Some Notaries emboss several pages all together, while other Notaries emboss pages one by one. There is always a danger the document custodian could swap pages with another document you notarized so it might make sense to emboss a different part of the page each time you emboss. Not sure how to coordinate that. Would you emboss on the left of the page on Mondays or use a random way to figure out which part of the page to emboss.

The irony is that someone did swap a page on a Deed embossed by this Notary. One of the people in the transaction contacted an Attorney since the dollar amount on his copy was different. The Notary had to appear in court, however, since the swapped page was not embossed, the lack of embossing was another layer of evidence used to nail the culprit two or more times over.

The one Notary in the East Coast who uses an embosser to deter page swapping was the one Notary that page swapping happened to in my experience talking to tens of thousands of Notaries. How ironic. I never would have guessed. I guess the Notaries who aim to catch frauds are the ones who karmically do. Another Notary in California routinely catches identity thieves by handing over thumbprint to the FBI. I guess she is tuned in to catching really really bad guys too.

Maybe one day you will catch a bad guy, but it won’t happen unless you take precautions such as keeping a good journal with thumbprints, full names of documents, document dates, other info about the documents, use an embosser, and the list goes on.

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You might also like:

Do you use a Notary embosser?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=15126

10 risks of being a Notary Public
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19459

10 ways female Notaries can protect themselves
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19196

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