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July 14, 2021

How valuable are the various types of notary knowledge?

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin @ 3:19 am

Notaries these days who invest in Notary education study all types of topics. Some study Notary basics, others study TRID, Reverse Mortgages, Helocs, situational knowledge, elite knowledge, or just plain signing agent knowledge. Marketing skills are also taught by many agencies. So, which skills are the most valuable?

As a signing agent, companies typically babysit you unless you are very advanced and work purely for title companies. If you make mistakes, that is very unprofessional, but they generally catch you before it is too late due to the scan backs and fax backs. Notaries do not get complaints about errors on our site these days. When they do get complaints it is because they are rude or don’t show up, don’t return phone calls, or don’t get documents back on time.

So, let me make a pecking order of Notary skills in an order that makes logical sense to me.

Notary knowledge
If you don’t know how to be a solid Notary, you are endangering the public as well as yourself and leaving yourself open to legal liability. A mistake identifying someone, or filling out your journal can lead to a lawsuit, or lack of evidence in a legal proceeding. That is very serious and can ruin not only you, but all who are involved in a transaction with you. Failing to properly administer an Oath (when required) can lead to the termination of your commission if you ever get caught and is considered Perjury which is a Federal crime! If you don’t fill out forms properly or follow Notary law and procedure, you can ruin your life. So, Notary knowledge is the highest priority as a Notary Signing Agent and THAT is why we teach the finer points at no cost in Notary Public 101 on the blog.

Signing Agent knowledge
Knowing how to initial, date a right to cancel, and understanding the basic documents in a home-owner Refinances are skills that you will need to use a lot. You can ruin a signing if you miss signatures or initials, or put wrong dates on documents. Signing Agent skills seems to be a definite #2 in the pecking order of what you should study.

Marketing
If you know your basics, but don’t know how to attract work, you might get a few jobs here and there, but won’t have a side career of any scope. Learning Notary marketing is easy because there are good teachers everywhere. 123notary and LSS do a nice job teaching notary marketing. Some of the knowledge is available in our loan signing course and a lot more is on the blog in the marketing category on the right.

Specialty Skills
It is always good to learn more. Being TRID trained, or trained in reverse signings is great. But, that is the last step in my opinion. It impresses clients when you go above and beyond in your training. It shows motivation and effort and makes them more likely to hire you. But, learn the other stuff first as that is a lot more critical for basic survival.

How many certifications should I get?
The more the merrier. If you advertise with us, you should consider ours. If you are a paid member, we sometimes offer to test you by phone at no cost if you study from Notary Public 101, but we get very few takers. Our test is the hardest in the industry and our teaching materials are the most practical — and NOT the most expensive. We have the least expensive certification compared to the big players!

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January 12, 2021

Gender or no gender

Filed under: General Stories — admin @ 1:11 pm

I read that in Vermont, and this could spread to other states faster than Covid, that gender distinctions are not used on short form acknowledgments. Let me know, that as a Notary, your job is to identify the signer. Part of identifying them is to see the name, serial number on the ID, and gender. If you bypass their gender, you are one step closer to identity confusion.

The reason our elections were compromised is that there were a lot of mail in ballots where signatures often didn’t match, people voting 30 times, etc., By undermining the notary process even in small ways, you are undermining the purpose of having notaries in the first place.

Some liberals might suggest having a 3rd gender option for the crossover types. But, the reality is that we are born a particular gender and the chromosomes in all of our cells do not change even when we get a sex change or are transitioning.

Discussion with God

ME: God, I heard that according to Judaism, your nature encompases both genders as well as a center column energy. It’s kind of a Kabbalistic thing.

GOD: Ummm. Kind of busy right now. Can you text me?

ME: Oh, sorry, is this not a good time?

GOD: Now’s not a good time… I’m transitioning.

ME: But, you are already both genders, what is there to transition to?

GOD: During creation there is a building aspect, and then a nurturing aspect, design aspect, destruction aspect. These processes use completely different sides of my “personality.”

ME: God, don’t you mean… “Godonality?”

GOD: Good choice of words.

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November 13, 2020

Penalties for Notary misconduct, fraud, and failure of duty

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

Originally posted in 2018

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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February 3, 2019

Credible Witness Notary — information & resources

Here are some links that explain the credible witness process in the Notary profession. Please keep in mind that each state has a different procedure and rules for credible witnesses and a few states don’t allow this practice at all. Please also keep in mind that a Credible Witness for Notary work is also called a Credible identifying witness as their function is to identify signers who lack proper identification.

California Credible Witness Information
There is a long list of things a California Credible Witness must swear to that go above and beyond the identity of the signer. The credible witness must also swear that the signer cannot easily obtain identification. Here are what the CW must swear to:

1. The individual appearing before the notary public as the signer of the document is the person named in the document;

2. The credible witness personally knows the signer;

3. The credible witness reasonably believes that the circumstances of the signer are such that it would be very difficult or impossible for the signer to obtain another form of identification;

4. The signer does not possess any of the identification documents authorized by law to establish the signer’s identity; and general information

5. The credible witness does not have a financial interest and is not named in the document signed.

Please note that the credible witness does not have to swear that the signer has a particular legal name. Shouldn’t that be the whole point of the Oath?

Please refer to page eight and nine of the 2018 California Notary Public Handbook for details.
http://notary.cdn.sos.ca.gov/forms/notary-handbook-2018.pdf

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Information & Resources

Credible witnesses from A to Z
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=452

Glossary Entry — Credible Witness
http://www.123notary.com/glossary/?credible-witness

Which states allow credible witnesses?
http://www.123notary.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=4047

Credible Witnesses — the process explained
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16695

NNA’s guide to credible witnesses
https://www.nationalnotary.org/notary-bulletin/blog/2015/10/notary-challenge-how-handle-credible-witness

NotaryClasses.com guide to credible witnesses
https://www.notaryclasses.com/tutorials/homestudy/56.aspx

Can a notary act as a witness?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=21359

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January 28, 2019

Can a Notary Act as a Witness?

Can a Notary act as a witness? Yes.
Can a notary be a witness? Yes.

However, there are many types if witnessing that a Notary could engage in.

1. Witnessing an Acknowledged signature
A notary could witness a signature as part of an Acknowledgment in certain states. Most states do not require the Notary to watch the signer sign for an Acknowledged signature, but six states do.

2. Witnessing as an official notary act
Witnessing is an official notarial act in a handful of states. Notaries can get paid a fixed maximum state mandated notary fee for witnessing a signature. Delaware Notary statutes allow this as an official act, other states do not.

3. Witnessing in their individual capacity
Witnessing a document signing as an unofficial act can be done by any person in sound mind who is eighteen years of age or older. However, many prefer to hire a Notary Public to do this in their capacity as an individual simply because people prefer to have a Notary deal with issues relating to signing documents. How much can a notary charge for being a witness? There is no set charge except perhaps in Delaware.

4. Witnessing a Will
Wills can be notarized, however, most Notaries are advised that it is not proper to notarize a will without written instructions from an Attorney. Living Wills are a different story as those function more similarly to a specialized medical power of attorney. Many people like to have a Notary be one of the two witnesses to a will signing. In Vermont I heard that they require three witnesses. For mafia signings regardless of what state it takes place in, they normally prefer — “no witnesses.”

5. Credible Witnesses / Credible Identifying Witnesses
A Notary cannot act as a credible witness if they are notarizing a document for someone. However, they can use the testimonies of one or two credible witnesses depending on the situation in most states. You can learn more about credible witnesses on our blog.

6. What is a subscribing witness?
Notaries typically use subscribing witnesses for Proof of Execution signings and Signature by X or Signature by Mark signings where the signer cannot sign their name. Subscribing means signing, so a subscribing witness is one who witnesses a person signing their name.

7. Which Notary act requires witnessing?
A Jurat requires the signer to sign in the physical presence of the Notary Public as well as swearing or affirming under Oath to the truthfulness of the content of the document in the presence of the Notary. The Notary Public should be watching when the signature is made.

8. Witnessing crimes
It is possible that a Notary might witness a crime during their work hours. It is possible they might observe someone being forced to sign under duress, or even someone being kidnapped. Notaries are often asked to go to jails to notarize criminals, but the criminal would not be in the act of a crime in jail — probably. Signers might ask the notary to falsify a date, and asking the notary to engage in fraud is a crime in itself in many states.

You might also like:

Credible Witnesses — the ins and outs
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19634

Subscribing witnesses explained
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16707

Witnessing the intake forms in Notary Heaven
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=8832

Types of witnesses in the Notary profession
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=5664

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November 15, 2018

The Starbucks Oath Question

Filed under: Technical & Legal — Tags: , — admin @ 10:25 am

I created a quiz question for written quizzes about Starbucks. It is a very interesting and caffeinated question. Here it is…

A Notary goes to a signing.

The Affiant asks for an Oath on a document that is an Affidavit that reads, “I love Starbucks.”

The Notary proceeds to attach a Jurat…
and made a statement that was, “Do you solemnly affirm that you are the one who signed this document and that your name is John Smith?”

What did the Notary do wrong?

COMMON RESPONSES

1. Ask for ID?
Many Notaries feel the Notary should ask for ID. It is true that Notaries are responsible for identifying people. However, that is not central to this question and since the document, certificate, and journal entry have not been completed or stamped, that is irrelevant at this point. Unfortunately, Notaries tend to get sidetracked on irrelevant details that are not central to situations while missing very critical points that can get them in trouble. Talking about ID at this point would be going off on a tangent, especially if that is the only thing you mentioned — although in most states you probably would have to identify the signer.

2. Create a journal entry.
Yes, you should ideally create a journal entry. But, that too is not central to the question at hand.

3. The notary used Acknowledgment wording.
I have never heard of a state that makes you take an Oath while doing an Acknowledgment except perhaps that Massachusetts wants to make sure the signer signed on their own free will and makes them make some sort of statement confirming that fact.

4. Make sure the venue has the correct information.
This document has no venue, and Oaths in all states but Florida (not completely sure about this by the way) do not have certificates. Certificates have venues, but if you don’t have a certificate, you don’t have a venue. Oaths once again typically do not have certificates, and therefore do not have venues.

CORRECT RESPONSE

1. The Notary did three things wrong

(a) The Notary added a Jurat when he was asked for an Oath. Although Jurats have Oaths or Affirmations, Oaths do not have Jurats. Humans have diabetes, but diabetes does not have humans. So, please do not assume that an Oath has a Jurat. An Oath can be done as an independent notary act, and most Notaries don’t know this because they do not read up on Notary tutorials, nor do they ever do Oaths as independent acts. In fact, most Notaries do not do Oaths as part of Jurats either — they just skip over it and assume nobody will notice, or they think that filling out the subscribed and sworn written verbiage is the actual Oath (which is not true because Oaths are verbal by definition.) An Oath is a purely verbal act, however, in Jurats there is a written documentation that accompanies and documents the verbal act.

(b) The Notary gave an Affirmation when he was asked to administer an Oath which is bad for two reasons — one, because the notary did not do what he was asked and, two, because the notary CHOSE the Notary act on behalf of the signer which you are not allowed to do. Only the signer or client can choose the Notary act. So, what the Notary did looks like it is bad service, but also illegal.

(c) The statement the notary made was about the signature and the name of the affiant, but not about the content of the document. The Affiant asked for an Oath on their document, so therefore, the Oath should be made purely on the content of the document.

“Do you solemnly swear that this document is true and correct to the best of your knowledge so help you God?” — would be okay.

“Do you solemnly swear that you love Starbucks? — is paraphrasing and is okay assuming you don’t butcher the statement in any way that detracts from the logic of the statement.

“Do you solemnly swear that you love Starbucks, so help you the Starbucks Goddess.” — if you are politically correct and have multiple choice for what divine entity you want to swear to, you might be able to get away with this one. Read your state notary handbook and see if they allow swearing to the Starbucks Goddess, or as I call her — The Goddess of Caffeine.

“Please raise your right espresso…” (fill in the rest according to your imagination.)

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You might also like:

Notary Starbucks – charging for waiting time while sipping Sumatra
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=18926

The Starbucks Signing in the 30 point course
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=14291

Airplane meals versus Notary Oaths & Affirmations
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19549

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September 17, 2018

What are Jeremy’s intentions?

Filed under: General Articles — admin @ 7:48 am

Why is Jeremy mean? Why does he give so many quizzes? Why does he take away people’s certifications? We are amazingly great Notaries and don’t need to be quizzed and deserve $200 jobs, etc. So, what gives?

I (Jeremy) realize that people who hire Notaries have a lot to lose if they hire a bad Notary. I also realize that the other notary directories out there have mostly really awful Notaries who don’t answer their phone, don’t communicate well, and don’t know how to be good Notaries, let alone good signing agents.

Next, picture yourself having to deal with thousands of apathetic Notaries who put more effort into coming up with excuses and avoiding doing what they are asked to do rather than cooperating. Then, add a regular supply of vicious jerks who go out of their way to be as hostile as possible and then blabber all over Facebook saying what a jerk I am. I am just doing my job, but get pelted with hostility the minute I ask anything of my Notaries or have any rules. I do not have the freedom to set down any terms and conditions that are enforceable without being relentlessly attacked. If you were in this position, how nice would you be, and would you even last?

123notary’s business model has always been about identifying and marketing quality Notaries. Most Notaries think of themselves as high quality, however, in my point of view, only a handful are. When I talk to someone for five minutes and have to repeat myself ten times, or find that whatever I say gets scrambled, this is what I call bad communication skills. When I ask simple notary questions and get resistance, that is a sign of a bad attitude and lack of motivation. When I give a notary quiz email and half the answers come back wrong — which is average. That is bad. We are showing you to fancy title companies who want to get good Notaries from our site. Generally the title companies are happy with us as a rule. But, I want to give title the best Notaries possible and filter through my notaries on board to find the best ones to identify as being good — or at least give higher placement to.

Additionally, the ones who have my certification icon are notaries who in a sense I am personally recommending. After retesting certified members and seeing how they don’t respond to emails and they can’t give straight answers to easy questions, I am thinking, how can I recommend these people? I want solid people to recommend who are professional, answer questions in a straightforward way, and know their stuff. This shouldn’t be hard to filter out, but when you boil it down, you might only get a few dozen people who match this requirement.

I want to market my certification like I did in the old days. But, people stopped respecting it. After I retested people, I too started to disrespect my certification. Unmotivated, stubborn people who did not know their notary procedures at all, and who were unwilling to study had my certification. Even with an open book test and study guide, many people just didn’t read the study guide and failed. A basic misunderstanding of the most basic notary principles and aspects of following directions were the problem. It is not rocket science to be a Notary. But, for most of our Notaries — it might as well be.

In short — I am trying to have the best site possible, but am dealing with a crowd of thousands of apathetic Notaries who don’t know their job and don’t give a damn. My value system does not match the majority of the Notaries.

The bottom line:

(1) I want to attract work for decent Notaries. And if I can’t differentiate a great Notary from an average one, that means more work for Title to sift through them. If most of the notaries on my site don’t know how to be a safe and good Notary, in my mind, why would anyone want to hire them or use our site? This is why I put so much emphasis on free courses, studying, quizzing, etc. That way in my mind notaries who pass deserve to get hired and paid well. Unfortunately only a handful are motivated enough to pass.

If we were a directory with only bad Notaries, or where you couldn’t find hardly any good Notaries, people would not get much work from our directory. Think about it. Those that hire want quality, especially if they pay well.

(2) I want my certification to be valued like in the old days. If people who used to be good, who forgot their stuff, and have become old and sluggish are the only ones with my certification, no wonder people don’t value it anymore. I feel sad taking my certification away from so many people. But, they will only value it when so few people have it, that it becomes an identifier of the cream of the crop. Then people will want it again, but whether or not they will be able to pass the test is doubtful.

(3) When I quiz by phone I have to make 200 calls per day. I have to get each call done fast to get to the next. When a Notary holds me up with sluggish answers, giving me the runaround or antagonizes me, I lose my temper because I really don’t have time or patience. Then, the notary typically gets on the internet and tells everyone how rude I am and I normally kick that notary off my site or mark them up as being a problem. Notaries do not understand that after being talked back to dozens of times per day I am long past the end of my fuse. Talking back to the police is not a good idea and they will not be nice to you if you do it either. Please remember that I am quality control and NOT customer service. If I am screening you, there is no benefit to not being polite and cooperative.

(4) I want to have the best directory possible as I said before. If you cooperate with me by being nice and studying, you can share the fruits of the quality. Otherwise you probably won’t do very well on 123notary in the long run and you are the one who loses the most. A few hours of studying to save your career doesn’t sound unreasonable.

(5) About 5% of Notaries email me and say that they are on my site and that they too are tired of really bad Notaries. For each supporter I have, there are twenty in the opposition who are pro-horrible Notaries and want the industry to have nothing but the worst, because they don’t see the worst as being bad, but think that it doesn’t matter. You just stamp a form and throw a package in the FedEx — that is all there is too it, and anyone who thinks differently is a prick. Those values do not attract quality clients and to not attract me either.

(6) Those “good” notaries who value knowledge who are on my side typically do not spend much time on social media. They are too busy working. Those who are not working are the majority on all theses Facebook groups that bash me. If they would spend as much time studying as they do commiserating with other jerks, they might get ahead.

I just want to have a site I am proud of with notaries who are conscientious, and can handle any type of work-related situation. If that doesn’t gel with you, then I can’t help you!

You might also like:

What are Jeremy’s favorite blog entries?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=18837

Testing Carmen on a bridge in 2003
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=21264

My bad karma testing people by phone
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19447

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September 4, 2018

Find a Notary who can notarize an inmate at Men’s Central, Twin Towers, Century Regional. Pitches Detention Center

Do you need a Notary who can do prison notarizations? 123notary has many Notaries who offer mobile service to jails, prisons, correctional facilities, penitentiaries, and detention centers. Here are some issues involved:

1. Someone needs to meet the Notary at the jail. That person can be an Attorney, family member, friend, or paid assistant.

2. The inmate must have identification that is satisfactory to the state where the notarization takes place. It is ideal if the person meeting the Notary has a current ID for the inmate such as a valid and current driver license, ID card, passport, etc. However, if the inmate has a wristband or jail ID card that is acceptable to the state where the notarization is taking place.

3. A California Notary may accept an inmate identification card issues by the state Department of Correction and Rehabilitation.

4. Florida allows Notaries to accept inmate ID cards issued by the U.S. Department of Justice or Bureau of Federal Prisons.

5. Credible witnesses are allowed in most states. A credible witness is a person who can vouch for the identity of a signer who does not have ID. Typically the credible witness must swear under Oath as to the identity of the signer (exact procedure depends on state laws) and must be identified by the notary and sign the journal in the additional information section. Some states allow one credible witness who knows both the Notary and inmate while others allow two who both know the signer, but don’t necessarily know the Notary. Other states allow one or two, while some states do not allow identification via credible identifying witnesses.

6. In states that require a journal, you must find a way to get the journal to the other side of the glass. Normally a warden will be happy to assist you with this task, however wardens might keep you waiting for five or ten minutes in my experience.

7. Lock downs happen in jails. If a lock down happens, you might be asked to leave, or might be taken virtually hostage until the lock down is over.

8. The Notary must have full vision of the signer and the signer must appear before the Notary. It is okay if the signer is on the other side of a glass provided that direct communication is possible. In my opinion, the signers should be within about five feet of the Notary otherwise you cannot fulfill the “personal appearance” requirement of most Notary acts.

9. Power of Attorney documents are common documents to be notarize in a correctional facility. That document normally requires an Acknowledgment which is a common Notary act which just requires the signer to sign the document, and then sign a Notary journal (most states but not all states). The Notary would need to check whatever ID the inmate has available and enter that information into the journal.

10. You can find a Notary on 123notary.com to do your jail signing. It is best to bring cash, and pay the travel fee up front. Then pay waiting time and whatever fee there is per signature after the work is done. Each Notary has their own fee and method of collecting their fee. Paying in two stages makes it easier for the Notary as some people try to get out of paying the Notary at all if there is any type of problem getting the inmate to come to the visiting room or sign, or be identified.

You might also like:

See our Jail Notary string
http://blog.123notary.com/?tag=jail-notary

A guide to notarizing for prison inmates
https://www.nationalnotary.org/notary-bulletin/blog/2016/07/guide-notarizing-for-prison-inmates

Jail notarizations forum string
http://www.notaryrotary.com/archive/forum/2009/March/Jail_Notarizations.html

Jail signing information
https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/notary-jail-signing-information-susana-landa

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May 3, 2018

Letter to Florida Notary Division

Filed under: Florida Notary — Tags: — admin @ 10:13 am

Dear Florida Notary Division,
I run 123notary and am constantly made aware of the sloppy behavior of the Notaries that you commission. I will remind you that the purpose in having Notaries Public in the first place is to ensure the integrity of transactions done via signed documents. The Notary makes sure the correct person signed the document, fills out forms, keeps records, administers Oaths, and upholds the law regarding Notary Public. Based on my quiz results for many Florida Notaries: Florida Notaries do not normally keep proper records, rarely administer correct Oaths, and do not have a clear idea of the laws affecting their work in many cases. Below are my comments and suggestions.

1. Journal Thumbprints.
A journal thumbprint is a piece of biometric evidence that Notaries should keep in their journal. The reason is that the FBI can catch identity thieves that steal people’s assets a lot more easily with thumbprints. Florida recommends against Notaries keeping thumbprints which essentially stifles the FBI. Florida is afraid that the Notaries will not be reputable custodians of biometric data and therefore recommends that they do not take the evidence to begin with. This tells me that the following MIGHT be true:

(a) Florida might desperately want to assist identity thieves in having open season in Florida, and wants to make sure that identity thieves not only can defraud hard working citizens, but that the rights to privacy of identity thieves will be honored at the expense of the safety of society, borrowers, signers, and Notaries by recommending against taking journal thumbprints. Ludicrous! The State of Florida might want to make sure that identity thieves will be protected from being caught and wants to deter the justice system from having adequate evidence to book these very dangerous white collar criminals.

(b) Florida commissions Notaries in a position of trust and integrity equivalent to that of police, attorneys, judges and government workers, yet doesn’t trust them to safeguard a thumbprint. Either you trust them or you shouldn’t commission them. Maybe you should spend more time figuring out who is trustworthy and who is not. Since 90% of your Notaries cannot administer an Oath correctly (which is the notarial equivalent of tying your shoes), I would consider weeding your database of the Notaries who refuse to know how to do their job. Or you could resort to actually training your Notaries and screening them a little better.

(c) The State of Florida is confused and doesn’t realize how stupid they are being by safeguarding society’s most dangerous criminals by discouraging Notaries from keeping journals and taking journal thumbprints. Discouraging journal thumb printing is similar in essence to discouraging wearing seat belts or condoms. Notaries might not get Aids, or break their ribs, but they could end up in court or jail as a result of this stupidity.

2. Journals
For the Notary’s safety, their notarial journal is their only hard evidence in court of what they did as a Notary on a particular date, or assignment as well as what they did NOT do should their seal be stolen, copied, or forged. By not requiring a journal for notarial acts you are endangering the public, Notaries, and their clients. There are many types of crimes that can be committed without a paper trail since you don’t require journals. The Notaries you have commissioned are mostly very lazy and negligent people who would prefer to spent an hour arguing with me about how journals aren’t required by their state so that they can save a few minutes each time they commit a Notary act. By not requiring journals you are encouraging people to be reckless. Additionally, one might argue that you as a state and as Notaries for that state are aiding and abetting criminals by not keeping proper records of highly sensitive transactions.

I give these Notaries the lecture about how California requires seat belts where India does not require having or wearing a seat belt in your vehicle. If you get into an accident in India, will you be any less injured since seat belts aren’t legally required? If an identity thief imposters you in Florida and steals the equity out of someones’ apartment complex, will you be in any less in trouble with the FBI in Florida simply because your state is too foolish to require you to keep adequate evidence of all transactions?

The reality is that the FBI has investigated many of the Notaries listed on 123notary.com. Many of the Notaries kept thumbprints in their journal which was a huge boon to the FBI. However, I heard that those without proper evidence are routinely accused of collaborating with frauds. Does the State of Florida really want their Notaries ending up in court or jail simply because they are too stubborn or stupid to require a simple journal? Millions of dollars of assets are on the line in each day of Notary work doing loan signings and you don’t even require a single record of the transactions conducted? Even third world countries are not this foolish.

Summary

My suggestions are as follows:

1. Be more careful appointing Notaries. Give preference to those who have held government jobs or highly responsible jobs in the past.

2. Have an IQ test and a meticulousity test to make sure Notaries are logical enough to make legal distinctions necessary to perform the duties of Notary Public. Many errors Notaries make are due to logic errors and scrambled thinking. Notaries also need to show they are adept at conducting themselves in a step by step manner doing paperwork otherwise they will not do good work filling out their Notary forms. You should test this before you put them through school otherwise you will be wasting their time.

3. Have a two day live seminar with hands on training. One day is not enough in my experience.

4. Test on Notary laws as well as on hands on procedure

5. Require Notarial journals and orthodox journal entry creation which means one entry per person per document notarized and no short cuts.

6. Require Journal thumbprints for Deeds affecting real property, Powers of Attorney, and transactions done with Credible Identifying Witnesses.

7. Check up on your notaries from time to time to make sure they are maintaining proper legal standards for your state.

8. Have a minimum fee of $25 per appointment for Notaries public plus $25 minimum travel fee as well as a minimum waiting fee for hospital, jail and other jobs that require more than ten minutes of waiting. Travel fees should be paid in cash at the door by law to discourage clients from manipulating the notary into committing illegal acts under the duress that the Notary will not be paid his/her travel fee if he/she doesn’t cooperate in some illegal act. Higher fees will give you a higher supply of higher level people which will be helpful when you weed out the incompetent Notaries in your state.

9. If you have fewer Notaries in the state, it will be easier to keep an eye on them. I recommend having roughly 25% of your current number of Notaries to ensure adequate quantity without sacrificing on quality!

Thank you
sincerely,
Jeremy Belmont
123notary manager

You might also like:

A Notary from Florida travels to India
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19636

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

Letter to California notary division
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19939

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April 5, 2018

The name on the ID vs. the Acknowledgment, Document, and Signature

Filed under: Technical & Legal — admin @ 11:08 pm

As a Notary, you will be confronted by a myriad of inconsistencies. Names on identifications don’t always match names on documents. We have discussed this multiple times in our John Smith examples where the name on the ID is shorter than the name on the document which in my examples is normally John W. Smith. However, I want to introduce the complexities of name variations in an organized way.

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RULE #1: The name on the ID must prove the name on the Acknowledgment
The name on the ID is not always identical or “matching” the name on the document. I do not like the term “matching” because it has multiple connotations and therefor is not clear. The name on the identification must PROVE the name on the Acknowledgment as a minimum.

Example
The name on the ID says John Smith.
The typed name on the document says John William Smith
The signature on document says John William Charles Smith
The name on the Acknowledgment cannot say more than John Smith otherwise you are notarizing someone whose name you cannot prove.

Whether or not your state approves you notarizing a signature that is longer or not matching the name on the identification is between you and your state. But, according to sensible practices, the main thing is what name you are Acknowledging the person as, because that is your job as a Notary. As a Notary, you have to prove the identity of the signer and certify that information in the form of a Notary certificate. What goes on the certificate must be true under the penalty of perjury in California and must be true in other states otherwise it could be considered fraudulent. In this example, you can prove the signer is John Smith, he over signed the document which the Lenders don’t usually mind, and you notarized him once again as John Smith — nothing more, nothing less.
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RULE #2: The typed name on the document ideally exactly matches the signature, but, if the Lender says it’s okay, an over signed version of the same name would suffice.

i.e. If the typed name says John William Smith, then the signature could be John William Charles Smith.
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RULE #3: The name on the Acknowledgment can be an exact match of the signature if provable by ID, or a partial match of the signature that is proven by the identification.

i.e. If the signature says John William Charles Smith, you can notarize the signature as that name if it that name variation is entirely provable based on the ID, or you can notarize him as John Smith as the ID proves that name.
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RULE #4: The typed name on the document is supposed to match the name on Title.

The recording agency has a particular name on title, and loan documents are supposed to match the name on title. Sometimes people change their name on title using Grant Deeds and Quit Claim Deeds and which form you use to change a name on title depends on what state you live and your individual situation, and I am not trained in these matters, (sorry.)
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Rule #5: Just because you are obeying sensible practices and the law doesn’t mean the Lender won’t get mad and fire you.

The Lender wants the name notarized based on how the name reads on the documents as a general rule. Usually times you can get away with notarizing a shorter version of the name for legal reasons. If you have a situation where you have a choice between breaking the law and pleasing the Lender, choose obeying the law. If you have a choice between pleasing the Lender and taking liberties identifying someone which is a wishy-washy point in the legal code in many states (look up your state’s requirements for proving someone’s name — many states only say that you have to check their ID, but not see if the names exactly match) then you have a judgement call.

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Summary of rules using fortune cookie English

1. Name on ACKNOWLEDGMENT must be proven by name on IDENTIFICATION

2. Name on ACKNOWLEDGMENT must be part or whole of name on SIGNATURE

3. Name on SIGNATURE can match exactly or be a longer variation of TYPED NAME on document.

4. TYPED NAME on document should MATCH name on TITLE

5. LENDERS want name on the Acknowledgment to match TYPED NAME on document, but this is not always legally possible.

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You might also like:

The ID says John Smith
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19953

What’s your sign? A guide to spotting fake ID’s.
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19638

Credible Witnesses – the ins and outs
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19634

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