I test Notaries by phone daily to see if they are fit to be on my site. The results of the testing are that I have to accept people who shouldn’t be Notaries just because I’m desperate for people in certain remote areas. However, bad Notarial record keeping is not only a headache for me during testing. It is dangerous for society and for the Notary as well. Failing to keep thumbprints makes it impossible for the FBI to catch identity thieves. ID’s can be falsified, so without hard evidence like a thumbprint, you cannot catch the bad guys. However, there’s more.
When the FBI interviews a Notary during an identity fraud case, the Notary is considered a suspect. After all, they were involved in the transaction. You might not think of yourself as a suspect, but the Feds do, because it would be easy for you to be involved, especially if you don’t keep your books correctly.
If your books are filled out with one journal entry per person per document, and each entry is signed and with a thumbprint — that is thorough bookkeeping. Less than 10% of Notaries nationwide keep their journal completely correctly. Here are some ways you could make yourself look more suspicious and perhaps end up in court for a long time.
1. If you put multiple documents in each journal entry, the signer or FBI could claim that you added extra documents AFTER the signing to defraud the signer. You cannot prove that you did not add those documents after the signing, so your hands are tied. This is why you have the signed sign off for each document which you cannot do unless there is a separate journal entry for each document.
2. If you put “loan docs” in a journal entry without specifying the exact names of the loan documents in separate journal entries, you could be accused of forging signatures on additional documents. Since you didn’t record which exact documents you notarized, you could claim anything and there is no evidence one way or the other to prove your innocence.
3. If you use one journal entry for more than one signer you create a mess as multiple signers would have to sign a journal entry where their ID information probably would not fit.
4. If you simply do not keep a journal as it is not required by law in your state you could be easily considered a suspect in identity theft and would have zero evidence to prove your innocence.
5. If you keep proper journal entries, but refuse to thumbprint the signer on a Deed or Power of Attorney (serious documents that affect people’s lives and property) you could be accused of concealing the signer’s true identity if they used a false identification card forged in China ($200 market price by the way.)
6. If you think an ID is the real person because the ID looks like him. Consider that in Iraq, ISIS kills people and sells their passports to other people who look similar for about 1200 Euros.
7. There are corrupt people at the DMV who make falsified driver’s licenses which look real because they are real, but with falsified information. Those bad people normally get caught eventually, but have a good run for a while creating all types of chaos in society. Many were charging $500 for a false ID so I heard.
If you keep proper journal entries and thumbprints, it will be more clear to investigators and judges that you take identifying signers very seriously and cover your tracks in case there is any hanky panky. ID’s can be forged, but you cannot forge a thumbprint unless you wear a latex pad on your thumb with someone else’s prints which the Notary would easily detect. Cover your tracks, and your court cases will be dismissed faster based on the experiences of the Notaries on our site!
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Compilation of posts about Notary fraud
10 risks to being a Mobile Notary Public
What entities might want to see your journal?