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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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November 22, 2019

Drug of choice for Notaries

Filed under: Humorous Posts — admin @ 5:52 am

Many professions have a drug of choice.

For acupuncturists it is heroin because they like the needles.
Dentists prefer laughing gas as it is easily available at least for them.
Chiropractors prefer crack.
But, what do Notaries like?

There is a new drug called “stamp”. No, it’s not smack, but stamp. It makes you feel like you are on top of the world and will get paid by everyone. It makes you feel so rich that if you don’t get paid if you won’t even care. Stamp looks like how LSD was described to me as it comes in little squares. Each little square is a stamp. You just put it on your tongue and get high, or as the local users say, “get notarized.”

I was standing on a street corner and this real loser came up to me and said, “Hey man, wanna get notarized? It’s really cool.” I was thinking, “Yeah I bet it is — I can’t go for that because I didn’t bring my ID.” He said, “Bummer man, maybe next time.”

Nobody will sell you any stamp if you don’t have a current ID, so be prepared and some dealers require journal thumbprints too for this drug.

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Notary Jokes
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=8471

Best virtual Notary comedy compilation up to 2018
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=17693

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November 17, 2019

Ways to get arrested as a Notary Public

Filed under: Humorous Posts — admin @ 5:48 am

Many people think that being a Notary is a fun and easy way to make a few extra dollars. But, it can be dangerous and dramatic as well. Notaries do get arrested — not that often, but it happens.

1. Commit fraud involving real property
You will probably be looking at jail time if you commit fraud or falsify a notary certificate that has to do with a deed affecting real property.

2. Get in a physical altercation with a borrower
If the borrower yells at you and you punch them out, you might get arrested.

3. Get in an altercation with a family member or your daughter’s boyfriend
One Notary did this, the police were called, and this person had their commission revoked due to a felony conviction. It all happened so suddenly too.

4. Notarize someone who used a false ID and falsified thumbprints by using crazy glue on his thumb.
You will probably end up in court and might be investigated for conspiracy to commit fraud.

5. Drive too fast to a notary appointment.
Were you going 90 in a 30 mile an hour district because you were late to a signing because your printer got stuck on page three? You might get locked up for that.

6. Fail to keep journal entries or fail to keep them correctly.
Okay, you might not get arrested for this, but you might get your commission cancelled, revoked, or end up investigated in court where you will have no evidence. As a Notary, your journal is your only evidence in court because how can you honestly remember what you did three years ago when you probably had thousands of appointments that year?

7. Sell someone’s personal information
You might learn a whole lot about someone based on their information on the 1003. But, don’t share that with others otherwise you might get in trouble. Remember — that information is confidential.

8. Get caught snooping around someone’s house if you arrive before they get back from work.
Yes, the neighbors might call the police and you might get in trouble. On the other hand, if you did not engage in breaking and entering, you are probably okay.

9. Run over the borrower in the driveway
You might get arrested for that. It could be considered a hate crime if you hate your job. On the other hand, you could explain that you hate signing companies, not signers and the judge would probably understand.

10. Steal oxy-codene from the borrowers.
One Notary had to go to the bathroom. They did more than just urinate there. They walked out of that house with a lot of prescription medicine which doesn’t come cheap. It is hard to prove if you stole it, but that is one crime that 123notary is aware of.

11. Arrive drunk at a signing
Some signers arrive drunk or high at a signing. That is a way to get locked up as well as get fired. You could also dress like you are going to a club or going to the beach and you might get fired, but probably wouldn’t get locked up.

You might also like:

Notary arrested for stealing spices from borrowers
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20799

A forged notary seal ends someone up with a prison sentence
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=21355

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November 14, 2019

Permission to travel for minors

Filed under: Technical & Legal — admin @ 5:46 am

I once created my own permission to travel for minors. The reason is that I wanted places for thumbprints of the various parties involved. I got feedback from repeat clients that the officials in Mexico liked my form because it was thorough and included lots of good forensic information. Here is what I put on my form.

1. Name of the authorizing party.
2. Name of who (name of child) they were authorizing to travel
3. Dates they authorized the child to be gone.
4. Name of the accompanying adult and their relationship to the child or family if any.
5. Places where the party would be traveling to.
6. Thumbprints of the authorizing party and optional prints of the child, and accompanying parties.

I (name of authorizing party) authorize (name of child) to travel to (name of place) accompanied by (name of guardian adult). They will leave (name of city leaving from) on (date) and return on (date). They will be traveling to (name of cities and country).

I do not remember the exact verbiage, but this covers the bases and all pertinent information if I am not mistaken. Traveling overseas as a child is a big deal. You want to make sure nobody is getting kidnapped and make sure nobody is suspicious of kidnapping.

You might also like:

What type of forms should a notary keep in their bag?
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=20011

Make your own notary certificate forms!
http://blog.123notary.com/?p=1759

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