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June 11, 2019

A Los Angeles detective seizes two journals and complains about a blurry thumbprint

Filed under: Notary Mistakes — admin @ 10:14 pm

Yes people, it really happened. A Los Angeles Notary notarized the wrong person. That person was committing some type of fraud. The next thing you know, some detectives were banging on her door. She had to let them have two of her journals. But, that was not good enough for the detectives. They went through a long whining session.

One of the thumbprints taken by the Notary was blurry. How can you do forensics on a blurry thumbprint? Why was that Notary so lazy that they could not take a proper thumbprint? It’s not rocket science — you just push down — and that’s it. Take thumb, press down in ink pad, rise thumb, press straight down on journal thumbprint designated space, feel good, that’s all.

Then on another journal entry, there was no thumbprint, and trust me, the detectives complained a whole lot about that.

So, if you are Notaries and say, “You’re being too picky Jeremy, and besides, my state doesn’t require that.” There are real reasons why I make the recommendations that I do, and it is not just to give you a hard time. You can get in real trouble without thumbprints and proper journal work. Don’t let it happen to you.

You might also like:

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

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

Scenarios – the FBI is at your door and wants your journal
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20013

Do you keep a journal to please the NNA, the FBI, or yourself?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19483

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October 29, 2017

Multiple title companies told notaries NOT to thumbprint?

Filed under: Popular on Linked In,Technical & Legal — admin @ 1:00 am

When I ask Notaries to thumbprint, they tell me that title companies don’t want them to. I don’t want anyone to get fired. However, I don’t want the Notary to be named as a conspirator defendant in an identity theft case either. Most Notaries don’t want to do anything they are not forced to do, especially if the people who pay them do not want them to. The only solution is for 123notary to contact Title companies and explain why it is so critical to take thumbprints.

Thumbprints are the only way to catch identity thieves. And Lenders can lose thousands of dollars should an identity thief slip through the cracks and they do from time to time on loans. So, why would a title company want to prevent the FBI from catching the bad guys.

Should 123notary write to title companies and explain why this is so important? Maybe that is the only way they will listen. The Notary industry is screwed up, so it is up to us to turn it around, right?

You might also like:

Notice to title companies about thumbprinting
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19453

Must a thumbprint accompany a notarized document?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=2289

Notary Public 101’s guide to Notary Journals
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19511

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October 14, 2017

Notice to Title Companies from 123notary about Thumbprinting

Filed under: Best Practices,Popular on Linked In — admin @ 12:56 am

Dear Title Companies,
It has come to our attention that many title companies are asking Notaries outside of California NOT to take journal thumbprints as it seems invasive or offends borrowers. However, we have had many incidents of identity fraud involving our Notaries as unwilling and unknowing accomplices. Here are some benefits of thumbprinting.

1. A journal thumbprint is often the only way for the FBI to be able to catch a Ponzi scheme practitioner, identity thief or fraud. Without the thumbprint, the investigators would be like a boat without a paddle. Why leave such critical members of society helpless when society is the one who ultimately pays the price?

2. Identity theft is not common at loan signings, but a few slip through the cracks and can cost lenders tens of thousands to clean up the mess. A journal thumbprint is often the only way you can find out the true identity of a signer who uses a falsified ID, or, one whose name is identical to someone else and impersonates that someone else and steals the equity in that someone else’s home.

3. A journal thumbprint safeguards the Notary from being named as a defendent in an identity theft case to a particular degree. If the Notary is concealing the true identity of a fraud, a prosecutor could claim that the Notary was a willing accomplice in an identity theft scheme and covered his tracks by not leaving thumb-tracks as the case may be. One of the Notaries listed with us went to jail for fraud which I assume was intentional. Let’s not have that happen to Notaries who are just plain negligent or too stupid to keep a thumbprint!

4. A journal thumbprint deters frauds. If you were a fraud, would you want some anal Notary fingerprinting you? No! That will come back to you in court. It would be safer to be notarized by some other Notary who doesn’t have such high requirements.

Basically, rather than forbidding or discouraging thumbprints, I am asking (pleading) with you to require thumbprints as that is the only way to safeguard your Lenders, Notaries and society at large from the heinous damages that result from identity fraud. I was a victim of identity fraud several times, the first time being really horrible. It is devastating, and I hope you do everything to prevent it rather than entice it.

Discouraging taking thumbprints is analogous to discouraging someone from wearing a seatbelt or discouraging someone from using a condom. The results can be ruin lives!

.

You might also like:

Comparing journal entries to Fedex signatures
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19375

Must a thumbprint accompany a notarized document?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=2289

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

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February 3, 2012

Must a thumbprint accompany a notarized document?

Filed under: Legal Issues,SEO,Technical & Legal — Tags: , — admin @ 9:38 am

Must a thumbprint accompany a notarized document? 

To deter fraud in notarizing, thumbprints are sometimes required by law in certain states, but are always a good idea.  California notary law stipulates that the notary must take a journal thumbprint when notarizing signatures on powers of attorney or deeds effecting real property such as Grant Deeds, Quit Claim Deeds, Mortgages, Subordination Agreements, etc.   Other states have their own rules.  Texas has some rules restricting the use of thumbprints, but I don’t know enough about those restrictions to comment.
 
Prevent fraud
As a general rule, if the notary public you use takes a journal thumbprint (many do not bother with this or even own a thumbprinting pad), you have more security.  The thumbprint is proof that nobody faked an ID and pretended to be you, or forged your signature.
 
Serious documents should have a thumbprint
If you are having a serious document notarized, you might ask ahead of time if the notary carries a thumbprinting pad.  They are two inches in diameter and weigh about half an ounce, so it is not a burden to the notary, assuming he/she is prudent about notarizing (that is assuming a lot).
 
Does the thumbprint go on the actual document?
I have never heard of a procedure which requires a thumbprint on an actual document, but it is not a bad idea. You could neatly put it to the right of a signature and document which thumb was used from which individual.  If you are missing a thumb, you can use the other thumb or a finger, just document it somewhere.

You might also like:

Notary Public 101 – identification
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19507

Notice to title companies about thumbprinting
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19453

Identification and thumbprint requirements for notarizations
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4299

Signing agent best practices
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=4315

Notary thumbprints can save your neck
http://www.123notary.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=4939

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November 16, 2011

Thumbprint Taking – Step by Step

Thumbprint taking and fingerprinting – step by step
The art of fingerprinting or thumbprint taking is not rocket science, and anyone can perform this art.  The older way of doing fingerprinting or taking thumbprints was to use a form of ink and take a person’s fingers, one by one, and press them into the ink pad, and then make either a FLAT or ROLLED impression on a piece of paper.  Standardized fingerprint cards are what is/was acceptable to the FBI and DOJ (Department of Justice).  However, these days, live scan is the medium of choice for many. Fingerprint cards generally require rolled impressions, while journal entries require a flat thumb impression.
 
Livescan Fingerprinting
The beauty of live scan is that you can take each individual fingerprint as many times as you like, until you get a good, clear impression.  With fingerprint cards, if you goof just once, you have to start all over again with a new card.  Elderly people have unbelievably stiff arms and grab on for dear life when you try to roll their wrist around to take prints.  They apply such a force of resistance due to their terror about nothing, that you might have to take their fingerprints several times to get readable prints.  Live scan solves this problem.  The bigger question is that the organization you are submitting the fingerprints to is the one that gets to choose what medium they prefer for fingerprinting, and every organization has their own standards.
 
Journal Thumbprint Taking
In the old days, a type of ink that is hard to wash off was used for any type of thumbprinting ranging from booking criminals to taking journal thumbprints.  Now, an inkless substance can be used which leaves the appearance of ink on a piece of paper, but is easy to wash off a person’s hands. 

How to take a thumbprint
Taking a journal thumbprint is easy (unless someone has a stiff arm, and many people do), just take the right thumb, and hold it by it’s sides with your thumb and middle finger… then take your index finger and press down into your ink pad, and then press down onto the notary journal making a flat impression. It is easiest to have their thumb next to the edge of the table so the rest of their hand can go lower.  If the signer’s right thumb is not available, use their left thumb, and if the left thumb is not available, you can use a right finger. Just document whichever finger you used.  I had a client who’s hobby was experimenting with explosives in his apartment.  I had to use whichever finger was remaining in his case. There were not many choices by the way.

Fingerprinting step by step

I only know the old-school technique.  Take the person’s left hand, and roll each finger in the ink pad, one by one.  Then roll each finger on the fingerprint card.  Then, take the person’s right hand, and repeat the process.  Some cards require additional flat impressions of the thumbs.  For flat impressions, you can roll the thumb in the ink pad, but do not roll the thumb when printing — just hold the thumb above the card, and then press down quickly and firmly.  If you move too slowly, the person’s right or left hand might start to shake and blur your impression.
 
When you you need to be fingerprinted or have thumbprints taken?
If you are being notarized, then it is a good idea for security to have a thumbprint in the notary’s journal as evidence that the signer was really you (and not just pretending to be you).  Some states require journal thumbprints for particular documents.  Applications for professional licenses often require fingerprints.  To become a notary in California, you need to be fingerprinted.  Criminals generally need to be fingerprinted when they get booked or tagged for being a gang member.

You might also like:

Journal thumbprinting in a nutshell

Notary journal thumbprints, they can save your neck!

Signing Agent Best Practices

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November 12, 2011

Texas Notary Law and Journal Thumbprints

Notary Public Texas: Texas Notary Public Law and Journal Thumbprints
 
I am a person who likes to take precautions. Life is more fun when you have less disasters, right? Disasters are more likely to happen when you don’t take precautions, right?  Today, I was visiting our Facebook profile, which I generally do every day or two.  I notice an interesting response to one of my posts about how essential journal thumbprints are for your safety as a notary public in any state!  However, one lady wrote that the National Notary Association now counsels Texas Notary Public members (Texas notaries who are clients of the National Notary Association) NOT to take journal thumbprints due to house bill 3186.  This notary claims that the mentioned bill states that a biometric identifier (such as thumbprints captured for a commercial purpose may be disclosed only under certain circumstances and must destroyed within a certain amount of time.
 
I am not sure if I agree with the National Notary Association on this one.  But, on the other hand I am not an attorney and don’t give legal advice. I will say this though:
 
(1) If you are a notary in Texas, or any other state, and one of your signers is accused of identity fraud or forging a signature, without a thumbprint, you can not prove that they were the one that really appeared before you.  Picture identification is really easy to fake.  China has many experts who will sell you a professionally made fake for US$200.  You might end up in court for a week because you didn’t have a journal thumbprint.
 
(2) Thumbprints in journals are NOT taken for commercial purposes, but are part of a notary public’s official job in their official capacity. Notaries are offering a service which they may or may not be charging for, and the thumbprint is only a security measure used in conjunction with the service. Nobody is “Selling” a thumbprint in the notary public business. 
 
(3) A notary journal is the EXCLUSIVE property of the notary in Texas and in any other state that allows Journals.  Only people making inquiries about particular notarizations may  have access to a particular journal entry and this qualifies as disclosure only under certain circumstances.
 
(4) As far as destroying journal thumbprints, that is up to the county recorder who receives your journals at the end of your term. It is THEIR property when you end your term, and up to them what to do with the thumbprints.  Keeping thumbprint records during your term seems legal unless a specific law says you can’t keep them this long.  The thumbprints are to protect the public from fraud and are not used frivolously or shared with the public in any way.
 
In any case, if you are a Texas notary public, you need to be familiar with the notary laws of Texas, and that is your responsibility. Please take my commentary as opinions, because that is exactly what they are.

You might also like:

Multiple title companies told notaries NOT to thumbprint?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19461

Thumbprint taking state by state
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=1689

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November 11, 2011

Notary Journal Thumbprints – they can save your neck!

Notary Journal Thumbprints
 
How adamant are you about taking journal thumbprints?  As a California notary public, you are required to take notary journal thumbprints for deeds effecting real property and power of attorney documents.  Notary thumbprint taking is a serious business and can keep you out of court.
 
Taking precautions as a notary
I have written other blog posts about precautions that notaries can take.  Notaries can use an inkless embosser in addition to an inked seal.  They can emboss every page of every document they ever notarize as a precaution against page switching which is a common crime that takes place after multi-page documents have been notarized. Taking a precaution of taking journal thumbprints is smart also, and can keep you out of court.
 
Suspicion of identity fraud
Let’s say that you notarized a signature on a document and that someone involved in the transaction suspects identity fraud.  The first thing they will do is to track down the notary who notarized the signature on the document and start asking questions about the signer. You will not remember the signer well, unless you took notes in your journal about what they looked like, how they acted, how old they were, etc.  But, if you have a thumbprint, that is absolute proof of the signer’s identity.  No two thumbprints are identical, and you can’t fake a thumbprint (forge a thumbprint) in front of a notary.
 
The investigation ended once I produced a thumbprint
If someone questions you about a particular notarization, and you say you have a journal thumbprint, the investigation might just end right there.  It happened to me as a California notary public during my first four year term. I saved myself from a potentially long visit to court.  I got a phone call from someone investigating fraud.  Someone had cheated some elderly people whom I had notarized.  One of the documents used to allegedly cheat them had been notarized by myself in my capacity as a California notary public. Since I had a journal thumbprint, the identity of the signers was no longer in question.  The person said they had no further questions the minute I told them I had a thumbprint. They didn’t even want a copy of the journal entry with the thumbprint.
 
Weak thumbprints with the elderly
The flaw of thumbprints are that elderly people often lose the tread on their fingers.  I am talking about really old people, perhaps in their eighties or nineties.  There is nothing you can do in that case, but at least you have a print, no matter how featureless it is. Personally, with signers over eighty, I recommend a retinal scan, which is not possible for a notary to take in 2011, but maybe in 2015… we can always hope.
 
Regardless of your state of commission
Whether you are a Florida notary public, a California notary, or notary in another state, if you are notarizing signatures on a power of attorney or real estate deeds, get a journal thumbprint whether it is required by law or not. That thumbprint could save your neck.  It is not a bad idea to require signers to give thumbprints for all documents and even oaths or affirmations.  It keeps them honest.  The minute they start making excuses why they shouldn’t have to be thumbprinted, that is suspicious behavior, and you might want to refuse service to them.
 
Bring wipes!
Don’t forget to bring wet naps or wipes of some sort.  It is polite to have something for the signer to wipe their hands off with.  Even with the NNA’s inkless thumbprinter which is a product I always had several backups in stock of, you should offer a wipe.  I strongly recommend having at least one inkless thumbprinter in your notary carry all bag!

Please visit our notary search page to see our notary public California page and notary public Florida page!

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You might also like:

Thumbprinting in Texas
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19672

Multiple title companies told Notaries NOT to thumbprint?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19461

Notary Public 101’s guide to Notary Journals
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=19511

Thumbprint taking step by step
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=1689

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June 13, 2020

Inspecting Journals

Filed under: Journals — admin @ 10:14 pm

Many Notaries do not bother to learn how to correctly fill in their journal. This is important because you could be investigated by the FBI (it happens to our notaries from time to time) and you could end up in court before a judge. You might be treated more leniently should anything go wrong if you keep very prudent and correct looking records. If you have omissions, sloppiness and don’t follow sensible procedure, you increase the chance that you could end up in trouble.

The most important rules to remember in journal entries are:

1. Fill out all fields in the journal. The additional notes section can be used for anything noteworthy about the building or signer that might jog your memory years after the fact in court.

2. One journal entry per person per document. Three people each signing four documents = 12 journal entries, not three and not one using the squeeze it all in method. Those signatures and thumbprints that you could keep in your journal are evidence that might be used in court – treat it as such!

3. Make sure your journal is locked up and stored properly after it is filled up. There are 512 entries per journal, so make sure you have extra blank journals for when you need them.

California actually inspects Notary journals regularly. If you live in California you need to know this. They can have you copy and mail your journal entries from a particular date range. If you are not following proper procedure based on what they currently want (ask them not me what they want) then they can suspend you. California suspends or revokes many notary commissions due to exactly this reason. Additionally, the rules keep changing so keep up with the times, man.

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June 3, 2020

The Notary Museum

Filed under: Virtual Comedy Themes — admin @ 10:11 pm

Welcome to the Notary Museum where Notary acts get lost in antiquity. Tickets are $10. $10 per signature, not per person. But, you have to sign one per person to get in. Make sure the signature matches the one on your identification. This museum is high security, so access to particular rooms is based on your thumbprint. Now that we have paid, please proceed to the atrium. To the right is our exhibit on prehistoric Notaries.

Here, we see a member of the subspecies of mankind, the Peking man (homo erectus pekingsis. He is attempting to go to his notary appointment in a tiger skin outfit while being chased by a triceratops. Good luck buddy. Wait, he is being approached by a dumb American asking him if he knows any good Chinese restaurants specializing in Peking dumplings and Zha-jiang Mian. His response is, and I quote, “Oooga booga.” So much for eloquent communication from this guy. Obviously he is not a foodie.

Next, we see an exhibit for Sumerian Notaries doing their work on stone tablets. I guess that is all they had, but try lugging them around all day. What a back breaker.

To the left, we see a Roman Notary. A sword in one hand and a Notary seal in the other. You just wonder if the seal is a secret weapon.

And during the Helenic period, we see a Greek Notary comparing his skills to a Persian Notary riding an elephant. My how times have changed.

During the Edo era in Japan, Samurai held an important role in protecting Notaries Public. Unfortunately in this exhibit, the Notary forgot to bow, and the inevitable happened. The samurai threw his stamp in the air and chopped in half to teach the Notary a lesson in manners. Can’t they just go out for California rolls and call the whole thing off?

In the next room, we see a British Notary in the 1700’s wearing a wig overseeing the signing of some critical documents as he turns his nose in the air.

At this point you need to go up a flight of stairs to see the exhibit on American Notaries. We see Jedediah P. Watson Notary Public notarizing on a plantation down South in this first American exhibit. You can see a slave bringing the document from the study room to the parlor where the signing is taking place.

The next room has a Notary notarizing a document about the Mexican-American war, but he refuses to notarize because the document was in Spanish. Typical. Meanwhile the signer is saying, “I didn’t cross the border, the border crossed us.”

And finally, a mobile Notary listed on 123notary in a car with airbags. I’m not sure how they got a Mini Cooper in the museum but they did. They Notary was a woman and carrying a gun just in case she had to go to a dangerous signing. Hey, it happens.

The next room is filled with notary stamps from around the world of every era — row, by row by row. There is even a statue of the Buddha getting Notaries with an antique stamp.

And finally, an exhibit dedicated to out of business signing companies who went under because they didn’t pay their Notaries.

I will end this silly article about a fictional Notary museum on this note.

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March 15, 2020

A Notary President – what would that be like?

Filed under: General Stories — admin @ 8:19 am

Imagine having a Notary President. Instead of having a state of the union address he would probably address all of his concerns and self-praise in a serious of tweets. He would promise to create some new and more interesting notary acts, and make the more successful signers pay their “fair share” in tax. They would promise medicare for all Notaries just in case you cut yourself on your acknowledgment pad (it happens.) He would take expensive vacations on tax payer money and then claim that America needs to tighten its belt.

He might get tough on Chinese Notaries too who were violating trade practices and not importing enough Apostilles. He might try (unsuccessfully) to create a ban on Islamic immigrant Notaries (not fair) and propose building a wall to keep the hard working Mexican Notaries out.

The irony in American politics is that Trump talked tough about border security, yet Obama kicked out 50% more illegal Mexicans than Trump did on a year per year basis, but did it without all of the show and tell. Americans are so dumb that they think that Trump is anti-Mexican and that Democrats are champions of the downtrodden and minorities. The truth is the opposite.

Black unemployment under Trump is half what it was under Obama, yet America is convinced that Trump is an evil bad racist and that Obama is a champion to blacks. The truth once again is the opposite. Trump is the best thing that ever happened to American Blacks. They should be voting for Trump and the whites should be voting for Bernie. Americans judge you by what you say and not what you do which is a sign of incompetency and it is also dangerous. Don’t confuse Trump’s New York edge with something that it is not – it is cultural and it is an edge. Look at his actions and judge him on that only.

If I were running for Notary president, I would create a new act called an “Identificate.” A notary act that you could do if the person had no ID, but would submit his thumbprint. What do you guys think? In the mean time I have to go and write some more tweets.

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