The moral of the story is that it is good to look at situations in perspective, preferably a higher perspective. Most Notaries want to please their customers and the way they do their job is for that purpose only. As a Notary Public, your job is to serve the public and to obey the laws of your state. Additionally, you should follow best practices or prudent practices whether required by law or not simply to protect yourself and the public from fraud. The whole purpose in having Notaries is to deter and prevent fraud, so if you take short-cuts that make fraud easy, then there is no point in the existence of your profession.
Many companies discourage thumbprint taking
Many signing companies and title companies do not like Notaries asking for thumbprints because many borrowers don’t like being asked to give thumbprints. Nobody wants complaints. The state of Florida’s FAQ page stated that they did not want Notaries requiring thumbprints, however, they did not object to asking for thumbprints. Many Notaries in Texas claim that their state doesn’t allow thumbprinting. I’m not sure if this is correct or now. The fact is that many entities are against thumbprints since it takes private information from an individual and makes it available to others as well as the fact that many object to thumbprints as it is a pain in the neck (and wrist.)
Identity frauds get caught with thumbprints
Although many people are against thumbprints, many Notaries listed on 123notary claim that they assisted the FBI catch some heinous identity thieves, frauds, ponzi schemers (not to be confused with the Japanese ponzu sauce which is citrus and soy based.) and other bad guys. One Notary on our site help to get a guy nailed for 15 years of hard time who ruined the finances of presumably hundreds of unsuspecting victims. If it hadn’t been for that journal thumbprint that the Notary lady in question took, the FBI would not have been able to catch the fraud.
The Notary is normally considered a suspect
When the FBI interrogates a Notary Public, the Notary is considered a suspect. If you do not take proper journal records, it might appear that you are FACILITATING fraud by your lack of record keeping. Proper journal entries help uncover what happened at a Notary appointment. If an ID was forged, the information in your journal is useless unless you have a thumbprint which cannot be forged unless you are wearing a latex thumb-cover which would be easily detected by the notary. By not keeping a thumbprint you are facilitating the possibility of fraud. Additionally, keeping journal entries with multiple documents per journal entry raises the possibility that the Notary added extra documents to the journal entry after the fact and used them fraudulently which is why we recommend one journal entry per person per document in all cases even if that means you will have to buy a new journal every two weeks. You could be named as a suspect by the FBI or have to appear in court for a long time if there is identity fraud facilitated by your notary commission. A thumbprint is the single most easy and effective way to get judges, FBI agents and other investigators off your back and keep you out of court. I have heard first hand of many examples from our Notaries where they were off the hook due to proper record keeping who would have been in court WITHOUT PAY for a month if they did not keep good records.
Would you rather piss people off or protect society?
Let me ask you a question as a group. Pretend that over the next four years you will notarize 10,000 individuals. Pretend that ONE and only one of these individuals will be a really horrible identity thief who has victimized dozens of people, cheating them ouf of their life savings. Assume that by thumbprinting them, that when the FBI knocks on your door, your information will be the critical piece of evidence that will be used to nail that sucker and put him away for good. By helping nail that scoundrel you saved 21 more people who would have been financially ruined because of that joker. Pretend that 500 people and some of the companies you work for will COMPLAIN that you are taking thumbprints when it is not required by law except currently in California (hopefully subject to change in those other negligent states that should have their heads examined.) Is it worth pissing off 500 people in a small way to save 21 people from financial ruin and emotional devestation resulting from their victimization? My answer is — don’t let petty concerns get in the way of safeguarding society. Be a good citizen and keep your neighbor safe at night. If they protest being thumbprinted, tell them that someone could fake an ID and pretend to be them and steal all of the equity in their home — and that without a thumbprint the soundrel might never even get caught. Your signers will whistle a different tune when they think of themselves as a potential victim.
(a) You will notarize 10,000 people
(b) 1 will be a bad identity thief who will victimize 21 more people if not caught.
(c) You will piss off 500 individuals and a few companies by requiring thumbprints.
Is it worth upsetting 500 people in a small way to save 21 people from complete ruin?
Your job is not to be the detective, but to keep good records that the detectives can use to nail really really bad people. IMO it is worth upsetting a million people to save even one person from a serious act of identity theft! Society needs to be safe and feel safe. Do your part!
You might also like:
10 risks to being a mobile notary public
Notice to Title Companies from 123notary about Thumbprinting