Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Notaries, Do You Know Where YOUR Stamp or Embosser Is?

It's been over twenty years since I heard the famous Public Service Announcement that aired on American televisions around 10 pm at night, "Do you know where your children are?"  It was was an attempt on the part of a New York news station to bring attention to youth violence and hold parents accountable for their kid's activities and whereabouts.  Did it make a difference? Perhaps.  It definitely made an impact and was frequently quoted.

Which is why I pose a similar question to Notaries Public.  "Do you know where your notary stamp or embosser is...right this minute?"  Is it in an unlocked desk drawer at work, unattended?  Is it in the glove compartment of you unlocked vehicle?  Did you leave it somewhere and you purchased a replacement?

People, including Notaries, underestimate the power of the notary stamp/embosser.  Once applied to signed documents, the stamp/embosser can change the legal ownership of property, authorize a person to have control over your bank accounts, permit an adult (other than a parent) to take a minor child out of the country.  The stamp/embosser is a force to reckon with.

Which is why it's so important for Notaries to secure their equipment each and everyday.  An honest and responsible Notary Public will do everything in his or her power to make it difficult for fraudsters to steal the notary's identity and/or notary tools.  Notaries:  Don't be careless.  Don't use poor judgement.

Today I learned about an investigation of a notary public and others in Kansas City, MO.  I hope authorities in that state investigate the allegations and get to the bottom of what really happened, and prosecute accordingly.  Here's a link to the new story, and an interesting video.  I hope the link works.  If not, try copying it (KSHB.com)

   http://www.kshb.com/dpp/news/local_news/investigations/investigation-of-apparent-real-estate-fraud-scheme-questions-if-notary-signatures-were-forged