Becoming a notary in your state can be a lucrative career path for entrepreneurs and those who want to help their communities. Mobile notary services have become quite popular in recent years. Experienced notaries know that mobile services expand business opportunities. Still, they also know that there are specific safety guidelines that mobile notaries need to pay attention to while on the go.
If you’re considering offering field service as a notary, below are ten mobile notary safety tips for beginners:
1. Always verify the identity of the signer before conducting any notarization
As a notary, it’s your responsibility to know who you’re dealing with, but this can be especially difficult when providing mobile notary services. You may be called to various locations with multiple people present, so verify the identification of all signers. You can do this by checking state-issued ID cards, driver’s licenses, military ID cards, or other forms of acceptable official identification.
2. Ensure the document being notarized is legitimate and that all information is filled out correctly
Documents you notarize need to be validated as legitimate before completing the notarization process. Different documents may require more intensive verification than others, so always ensure you know what documents you’ll be dealing with before heading to a notary job. This will allow you to be prepared if certain documents need additional verification to be performed beforehand.
3. Always use a tamper-evident seal or stamp on the document
The seal or stamp you use should include some tamper-evident features. Consider taking photos of any seal you place upon documents within the bounds of the laws that govern notary services in your state. This can be helpful if evidence needs to be provided later to verify the original marking.
4. Keep a detailed journal of all notarizations performed
It’s also a good idea to keep a detailed journal of each day’s service calls. Each entry should include the date, time, and location of services performed, and you should also consider including contact information for any parties with whom you have contact. Your journal entries can help if you need to verify information in the future, and it can also be helpful if you bill customers instead of collecting payment at the time of service.
5. Be aware of your surroundings and stay alert for any suspicious activity
Among other mobile notary safety tips for beginners, it’s vital to be aware of your surroundings when in the field. Pay attention to suspicious activity, and always put your safety and security first. No job is worth your life, so pay attention to potential threats in the area. You can also research locations online before arriving to get a better understanding of an area’s layout.
6. Use a GPS-enabled device to track your location
In keeping with the above, ensure GPS tracking is enabled on your smartphone or a dedicated GPS unit in your vehicle. These devices help you find locations faster, but they can also be used to provide important information to authorities if you can’t be contacted after responding to a service call. It’s also recommended to share your schedule with a trusted friend, family member, or colleague and check in with this person throughout your work day.
7. Do not carry large amounts of cash or valuables with you
You only carry small amounts if you accept cash payments as a mobile notary service provider. If you have a busy day, plan some time between service calls to deposit cash at your bank. In the unlikely event that you get robbed, or you lose the cash on your person, you’ll be thankful that you didn’t carry a large sum of money. You can also limit the amount of jewelry you wear to service calls to minimize your risk of being robbed.
8. Be familiar with the notary laws and regulations in your state and adhere to them at all times
As a mobile notary, you have unique obligations and responsibilities. Your role is recognized by authorities to serve the public with integrity; to do this, you need to know the laws that govern notary services in your state. These laws may include regulations about what documents you can notarize, where notarizations must occur, whether multiple witnesses must be present, and more.
9. Keep your notary commission and identification with you at all times
Mobile notary professionals must always keep their commissions and IDs on them. Having these documents with you is important if a customer asks to see them, but you may also be asked to provide them to authorities. In addition, providing mobile notary services often means going into unfamiliar areas, so it’s wise to have records available to show that you belong in places where you don’t live.
10. Use a secure method of payment and avoid accepting cash
Accepting cash is convenient and quick, but it can also be a liability for mobile notaries. Instead of accepting cash transactions, consider using a digital point-of-sale system. Today’s point-of-sale systems integrate with the web through smartphones, allowing you to accept cards and digital payments without having to handle paper money.
Mobile Notary Safety Tips to Protect You and Your Clients
Remember, as a mobile notary, you are responsible for the safety of yourself and others. By following these ten mobile notary safety tips for beginners, you can help ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone involved in the transaction.