You searched for notary fraud - 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

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

Share
>

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

Share
>

February 12, 2011

Two and a half notaries: Detering notary fraud

CHARLIE: You know something Jake, notary fraud is a huge problem affecting the quality of life in America

JAKE: Whoa, you make it sound so serious, like the world is going to come to an end.

ALAN: You know Jake, notary fraud is something you should take seriously. I have stories about it that would shock you.

JAKE: Like, okay… I don’t even know what a notary is…

CHARLIE: Remember Shelley? She was a notary!

JAKE: So?

ALAN: A notary public is a very sacred and meaningful profession. They are people of integrity who make sure that a document was signed by the person who was supposed to sign the document.

JAKE: Oh, I get it. So, if Valerie wanted to get permission from her doctor to cut class because she was sick, and she forged her doctor’s signature, a notary wouldn’t let her get notarized with the forged signature.

CHARLIE: You hit the nail on the head. Is this kid taking smart pills all of a sudden. He’s never been so lucid as long as I’ve known him.

ALAN: I have no idea. This is a first for me too.

JAKE: Well, maybe I’ve thought about the concept of notarization in depth over the years, even though I didn’t know exactly what a notary was. After all, if Valerie is going to cut school to hang out with me at the mall all day long, I need to have a fool-proof strategy.

CHARLIE: I’m beginning to see where the motivation for Jake’s new-found high aptitude is coming from.

JAKE: Which brings me to my next thought which is, how do you fake a notary seal on a letter from a doctor to give you permission to fake school?

ALAN: Now, that is just wrong!

CHARLIE: Remember that fishing trip we were going to go on. And you could only take time off work on a Thursday?

ALAN: Well, yeah.

CHARLIE: And remember, how the only way that all three of us could all go together was if Jake could also take time off school on Thursday without getting into trouble?

ALAN: So, where are you going with this?

CHARLIE: Don’t you see? If we can get a fake notary to notarize a doctor’s signature, Jake can take the day off, and we can go to Lopez Lake up in Santa Barbara County!

ALAN: I’m not sure I’m comfortable with this.

JAKE: Count me in!

CHARLIE: Monica said she would meet up with us there.

ALAN: Say no more!

CHARLIE: All we need to do is to take a refresher course on the difference between a genuine and a fraudulent notary seal’s impression.

JAKE: What’s genuine?

ALAN: Oh, thank God he’s back to his old self again!

CHARLIE: Now, look at all of these notary seals. Can you tell which ones are authentic?

JAKE: Hmmm. I’ve never done this before, but, I’ve done something similar… (muttering under his breath) on the beach yesterday.

(looking at the notary seal impressions in a book)

CHARLIE: How about this one?

JAKE: Real… Fake… Fake… Real… Those are so fake… Wow, look at the size of those! I didn’t know it was possible for a notary seal to be so big. What about these ones?

CHARLIE: I can’t tell if these ones are real or fake, but all I have to say is, they should be illegal!

ALAN: What about this one. It looks so smudgy.

CHARLIE: That one’s real. It’s just that the notary who used it didn’t know what he was doing.

ALAN: There’s nothing worse than a notary who doesn’t know how to handle his seal.

JAKE: Can a notary seals be round?

CHARLIE: I’m glad you asked. A notary embosser, is round, and leaves a raised impression.

JAKE: You mean like it’s three dimensional?

CHARLIE: That’s exactly what I mean.

JAKE: Cool.

CHARLIE: I knew you’d like it. Check this out. This is an embosser!

ALAN: Where did you get that?

CHARLIE: Never mind where, or how. This is our ticket to fishing on the lake!

Scene 2. County jail

JAKE: I guess our plan didn’t work too well.

CHARLIE: Tell me about it. They might let me out for good behavior if Sylvester will take his arm off of me: (To Sylvester:) And NO, I am not your girlfriend — get the thought out of your head.

ALAN: Well, we might as well go to the lake, just Jake and I. There is nothing else to do. We’ll bring back some pictures for you to see when we’re back.

CHARLIE: (muttering with his hand over his face) That’s exactly what I need.

JAKE: I have an idea. Maybe if we get a notarized letter, we can get you out of here.

CHARLIE: I don’t think that is a very good idea, especially not at this point. And besides, my embosser is not part of exhibit A

BERTA: I can get you out of here. I’ll just sweet talk the guards.

CHARLIE: Never mind the guards, I’m more worried about the judge

SYLVESTER: Are you worried about me? I’ll miss you so much once they let you out.

CHARLIE: Oh my God.

BERTA: Good news, they’re letting you out!

ALAN: They are? They are!!!

CHARLIE: Why? What did I do. What changed?

JAKE: The principal of my school just called and dropped the charges. Since no malicious harm was meant, they decided to just let you out on a warning. But, they warn that impersonating a notary seal, or a notary is a Felony and can result in jail time.

CHARLIE: Oh boy, no more house in Malibu. I guess I got lucky this time.

SYLVESTER: But, I sure didn’t. Will you think of me when you’re back in your cushy house on the beach?

CHARLIE: You can bet I will. (shaking his head and rolling his eyes)

.

You might also like:

Notary Oscars
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=16540

Two and a Half Notaries — learning the ropes
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=13707

Two and a Half Notaries — imparied judgement
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=13207

Share
>

December 19, 2020

Notary accused of fraud helping someone steal a house!

Filed under: Technical & Legal — admin @ 12:33 pm

This is an interesting article.

https://www.jdnews.com/story/news/2020/11/12/onslow-notary-accused-fraud-obtain-property-false-pretenses/6219689002/

Share
>

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

Share
>

November 13, 2017

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

When I was a Notary and was handed some other Notary’s work, I normally saw that the he/she/they and capacity(ies) that needed cross outs did not have cross outs. By omitting the cross outs you cannot know if the signer is a single man, woman, or multiple people. California no longer allows Notaries to verify capacity which leaves one less thing to cross out.

If you as a Notary omit to cross out the she/they on an Acknowledgment for a single man, someone could add another name to the certificate and get away with it undetected. Notaries can be extremely negligent and don’t get caught — usually. But, I catch them by the dozen every day and penalize them on my site. I throw hundreds of Notaries off my site for failing my over the phone Notary quizzes. And others stay on the site but I deduct points from their point algorithm results which makes it very hard for them to upgrade. You might not take doing your job correctly seriously, but I do.

And then the Notaries who take their job seriously, but have been doing it wrong for 20 years and think that their work is flawless. I will catch you. I will expose many things you are not doing or are doing incorrectly. Better that I catch you rather than ending up in court with legal fees for not filling out forms correctly. Being a Notary is not rocket science. There is no reason for such negligence!

.

You might also like:

Penalties for Notary misdeeds and misconduct
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=2067

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

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

Share
>

January 22, 2014

We caught a bunch of frauds using notary verbiage

For most notaries, Notary verbiage is a cause for annoyance or confusion. Due to the poor quality of notary education in most states, notaries simply don’t know how to cross out the is/are and the unused “s” in signature(s) in the boiler plate notary wording. You can easily catch an amateur notary in the act or after the fact simply by looking at their cross outs. You can look at their journal of notarial acts and see if they are taking liberties or making omissions there too.

My notary seal impression was used fraudulently once. No, the notary seal was not stolen (don’t panic), it was just xeroxed with a high quality xerox machine onto another document that needed to be notarized in a hurry. The crime was actually done by a young lady working at a Title Company who made little circles to dot her i’s. Very post high school and ditsy if you ask me. The signature didn’t look at all like mine. But, besides all of these other stupidities, their fraud was easy to catch because they didn’t do their cross-outs in the Notary verbiage section! Additionally, they didn’t use an embosser to emboss every single page with a raise impression which cannot be xeroxed — which is exactly why I used it. If they had been more sophisticated frauds, my embosser would have been my only recourse to prove them guilty.

To my good fortune (or bad luck) I was never called into court to act as a witness. I don’t believe that the bad guys were seriously punished. Maybe they were reprimanded and promised never to do it again. A Title company could get completely shut down for that type of fraud if the right authorities ever found out. Don’t they value their future? Maybe not!

So, the moral of the story for you guys is to take your Notary verbiage seriously. That is what makes your profession a profession, and your ability to handle Notary wording defines your level of expertise.

Tweets:
(1) Due to the poor quality of notary education, notaries often don’t know how to cross out is/are, (ies), etc.
(2) A young lady who worked in title and made cute circles to dot her i’s Xeroxed my notary seal!
(3) Take your notary verbiage seriously, it might be the only thing that distinguishes you from a fraud!
(4) My notary seal was used fraudulently once! It was Xeroxed!

You might also like:

The Notary, The Mafia & the FedEx Drop Box
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=6867

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

Share
>

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

Share
>

August 14, 2021

Being a notary vs. waiting on table

Filed under: Humorous Posts — admin @ 8:00 am

When I have new notaries on board, I normally give them a welcome call. I asked one guy what his professional background was. He told me he was a Notary for a month. I told him that a month doesn’t constitute a professional background, but that a 20 year teaching background would. Then he said that he was a Real Estate intern for half a year. Finally, I asked him, “Are you young?” I forget that young people don’t have a professional background or necessarily know what one is. But, if they keep having a boring and dull life going into the office, they will attain one in 10 short years. But, what about being a waiter?

WAITER: Welcome to Mel’s Diner, can we interest you in a drink?

CUSTOMER: I’ll have the jackhammer.

WAITER: Can I see some ID?

CUSTOMER: I’ll sign the journal, but I won’t thumbprint.

WAITER: Hmmm. So, what’s your sign?

CUSTOMER: I’m a Leo.

WAITER: So, you were born, July 28th, 1997.

CUSTOMER: You are trying to trick me. I was born the 29th.

WAITER: I wasn’t trying to trick you. I have bad eyesight. And I don’t use a journal because my state doesn’t require waiters to use a journal.

NOTARY: You sound like a Notary in one of those states that doesn’t require journals. But, when you get busted by the FBI and the journal is your only evidence that you weren’t involved in a serious act of fraud, you could get put in jail or end up in court forever.

WAITER: Good point. What if someone orders an illegal drink with a fake ID, I don’t keep a record of it, and he gets in his car, runs someone over, and I get blamed. That “journal of official waitorial acts” could be my only defense.

CUSTOMER: I never thought of that. You know, you CAN thumbprint me. I even brought my NNA thumbprinter.

NOTARY: Are you a Notary too?

CUSTOMER: Not yet, but I’m going to become one, and I’m learning something right here about being a Notary. It can be a dangerous job if something goes wrong.

NOTARY: It’s like driving. It’s safe 99.9% of the time, and then something unusual happens and then only your seatbelt can help.

WAITER: Many people don’t like precautions unless they sound like Covid-19 precautions — then they like endless restrictions and precautions.

CUSTOMER: If I were running this joint I would say — you can have that jackhammer, BUT ONLY if you sign this journal. But, you can’t sign the journal unless you wash your hands three times and say hail Mary, and then walk around in a circle counter clockwise, use a sanitized pen, and then sign it wearing an N-95 facemask.

NOTARY: How about sound effects. If someone orders a jackhammer, shouldn’t that come with sound effects. Maybe get some sampling?

WAITER: How about this? “Chu chuh chuh chuh chuh…… HEY SULLY, we’re that pipe you brought ovuh? chuh chuh chuh chuh …. WHAT? I CAN”T HEAR YOU. I got my ear plugs on.”

CUSTOMER: Wow, that changed the whole customer experience in an even better way than those meaningless restrictions.

WAITER: Sully says he likes the part about the hail Mary as you go around three times.

NOTARY: Is Sully a real person?

WAITER: He’s real to me! So, let me guess. Would you like to try a virgin Notarita?

NOTARY: Sounds great, but the drink sounds underaged. I don’t want to get in trouble.

CUSTOMER: It’s okay, the drink has been aged 21 years. We just need to make sure that you are of proper age and sound of mind.

NOTARY: Here’s my ID. Wow, this is like life in reverse.

WAITER: So you could notarize that drink because it’s old enough.

NOTARY: It’s age is passing, but it doesn’t have an ID.

WAITER: But, it does have a signature — in fact it’s our signature drink.

NOTARY: In that case, that makes it okay. So, honestly, are all of your clients as interesting as us?

WAITER: Some are a lot more interesting. But, it’s hit and miss, especially the ones who forgot their ID.

Share
>

May 1, 2021

Precautions as a notary are like wearing your seat belt

Filed under: Best Practices — admin @ 6:28 am

One out of seven seasoned Notaries I talked to has ended up in court at least once. Generally this happens because of something outside of the Notary’s control. Fraud, theft, or someone taking advantage of a confused elder are the main reasons for court cases.

Notaries who have never been to court think it will never happen to them. It is like car accidents. Bad ones do not happen much, but when they do, if you are not wearing a seatbelt and/or don’t have good airbags, you might be in big trouble. Just because it hasn’t happened yet, doesn’t mean it won’t happen tomorrow, or in twenty years. So, take precautions. Think of these as wearing a facemask if that makes it more relatable.

If a signer is senile, elderly, in a hospital or nursing home, make sure you can identify they correctly and that they can explain to you what they are signing. Don’t ask yes or no questions as they will say yes to anything and are probably on morphine and not all there. If they go over the document point by point, then they know what they are signing today. They might not remember a year from now though, and that is dangerous for you if it goes to court.

Your journal is your only evidence, so if you say, “My state doesn’t require a journal” you are a fool. The state might not require it, but a judge or investigator needs the journal as that is your only evidence of what actually happened.

PRECAUTIONS
1. Make sure the name on the ID proves the name on the document. Don’t use the “you can have more but not less” rule, because notaries always forget which document you can have more on – the ID or the document. So, remember my rule. “The name on the ID must prove the name on the document.” The ID name can be matching but longer, or matching and identical to prove the name.

2. Take a thumbprint unless your state forbids it. I personally might take a thumbprint anyway in Texas because the state forbids selling or distributing that information and not taking it — and that is your only hard evidence of the identity of the signer. Fake ID’s abound, but fake thumbprints do not.

3. In the “Additional Notes” section of your journal write down about the situation, the mental state of the signer, who else is there, and that the signer explained the document to you. This could save your rear if you go to court three years later because you will not remember what happened off the top of your head. Write down anything else noteworthy about the situation to job your memory when investigated.

4. Decline jobs that are too sketchy or if you are unsure that the signer knows what is going on.

5. Have the signer verify who the other people are with them if they are elderly. Sometimes they are not related and sometimes they are scamming the signer.

6. Make sure you know how to give Oaths correctly. You could lose your commission if a judge finds out otherwise.

SUMMARY
I was investigated 3 times, but had my paperwork and thumbprints in order. It took me minutes to query jobs done a year or so ago since I had a stack of journals all in chronological order. I always identified people correctly and took notes in my journal for credible witnesses and other pertinent facts. Be sure to do the same, or even more. If you do everything correctly, you still might end up in court, but it will be a shorter case as you have more compelling evidence as to what happened — especially the thumbprint which is your only hardcoded proof of identity.

Share
>
Older Posts »