Notaries can end up in court for a variety of reasons. If the person you notarized used a fake ID and you did not thumbprint them, you are likely to end up in court. If a borrower is suing the Lender and wants to sue all involved, you could end up in trouble. If you explain something poorly and the signer feels you are denying a legitimate request for service and they miss a deadline and experience a loss — you can end up in court.
Here are some ways to increase your likelihood of ending up in court:
1. Not keeping a journal
2. Doing hospital or elder notarizations (even if you are cautious)
3. Not taking journal thumbprints
4. Not explaining notary requirements clearly to irate customers who will lose big bucks if you refuse them service.
5. Doing a notarization for someone who happens to be in a court building at the time of notarization (sorry, bad example.)
So, bad communication and record keeping skills are the prime reason people get in legal trouble as a Notary.
One in seven full-time Notaries who we have spoken to (rough estimate) have ended up in court at least once. Having good records makes it a lot easier for judges and investigators. So, when we ask you to keep a journal, we are not doing that just to put another burden on you. It is for safety reasons — your safety and the public’s safety.
If someone copies your seal and impersonates you the notary and notarizes something, if you don’t have a journal of what you actually did in real life every day — then you will not be able to prove to a judge that you did not notarize that phony notarization and you can get in trouble or even end up in jail. So, if you don’t like jail, keep a journal. That is a far fetched worst case scenario, but you could get in bad trouble. So, keep a journal even if your state says you don’t have to because the FBI doesn’t play games and neither should you. And FBI is FEDERAL and they work in all states regardless of whether your state requires a journal.
You might also like:
13 ways to get sued as a Notary
10 risks to being a Mobile Notary Public
The FBI is at your door and names you as a suspect!