Originally posted Oct 19, 2017.
Notarize at your own risk. Being a Notary is NOT safe!
Many of you think that being a Notary is an easy way to make a few extra bucks. Stamp a piece of paper, get $10, easy, right? Then you deal with nitpicky signing companies who make you fax things back and you get mad, right? That is an annoyance, but not the bigger problem. Being a Notary is dangerous, particular when you don’t do your job correctly. Most Notaries feel that you look at an ID and if it is close enough and the photo looks like the guy, that you are doing your job, right? Sort of. Here are some itemized risks to being a Notary Public.
If you go to someone’s house and they have things stacked to the ceiling, you might be in danger in their house. The signer doesn’t want to hurt you. It is just that they cannot control their psychological disease that causes them to engage in hoarding. My housemate is like this and she has stuff stacked to the ceiling which is dangerous and a fire hazard. Something could fall on you or you could get trapped in a fire.
Some homes that are not cleaned properly are dangerous. One house Carmen almost went into had some bacterial infection that would have gone straight to her lungs and caused her to go to the hospital. If a house smells funny, maybe you are not safe in there. If it is not ventillated properly, perhaps you should stay away. Poor hygene can be deadly, so be advised.
Some neighborhoods have unsafe dogs around. Notaries could be harrassed or bitten by dogs. Carrying pepper spray or mace is not a bad idea.
4. Slummy neighbors
You might go to a signing in a bad area and people nearby might be hanging out who look unsavory. I am not sure if this is dangerous, but some people get upset.
5. Angry borrowers.
One Notary got pushed off a flight of stairs and broke her wrist. The borrower didn’t like his APR and I guess the Notary didn’t educate themself on how to give a professional explanation of the APR either. The borrower ended up in jail very quickly and the Notary healed in two months.
6. FBI and lawsuits
Roughly 2% of full-time Notaries will end up in court or with an FBI investigation for being involved with identity theft. If you do not keep a thorough journal with thumbprints and the right amount of journal entries, you are much more likely to be held in court as a witness, suspect, or cause yourself extended grief. Without a thumbprint, the investigators are often helpless to catch really really bad people. So, help them out and keep thumbprints. Do your part to safeguard mankind.
7. Getting sued by a borrower
One borrower got mad and sued the Lender, Title company and the Notary when the Notary had done nothing wrong. The Notary tried to use their E&O insurance, but the company wouldn’t pay out because the Notary had not made any error or omission. Of all the bad luck. So, the Notary lost $30,000 in legal fees. Talk about bad karma.
8. Getting sued by the bar association
If you life in an Attorney state and do loan signings without a law license, the bar association might come after you. Good grief.
9. Jeremy might phone quiz you.
Many Notaries who thought they had it together got a phone call from the infamous Jeremy (that’s me) and failed an over the phone quiz. They rationalized, “I’ve been doing this 30 years and therefore I know what I’m doing.” My rationalization is, “Not if you got 18% on my quiz which consists of very easy and every day notary questions.” You might not lose any money, but you could lose your dignity if you score less than 70%. So, study up!
10. Your seal could be stolen
It happened to me. I had to write to the Secretary of State. My car was broken into and I lost my seal, embosser and journal. What a tragedy. It took me two and a half weeks to be back in business. Think of all the money I lost not to mention the trauma of being robbed of my most prized possession — my inkless embosser that I used as a secondary seal to deter fraud! Boo-hoo.
There is also the risk of traffic accidents and having one of those talking GPS systems that talks back to you when you get in the wrong lane, but I won’t include details of those problems as they are common to all humans who drive and not just to Notaries. The end!
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13 ways to get sued as a Notary
Notary loses $4000 in legal fees because a fraud adds a name to a Notary Acknowledgment.
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