Notaries are an important part of the legal process, and they play a critical role in making sure that documents are properly executed. Unfortunately, there are some notaries who use deceptive tactics to take advantage of unsuspecting individuals and con them of their hard-earned money without providing services.

A notary is a public official that serves as a witness of the signing of important documents like deeds, and business agreements among others. A notary public is appointed by the state government to serve the public as an impartial witness during the document signing.

Dangers Associated With Notary Fraud

A Notary Public is personally liable for the negligence or fraud that may happen when carrying out their duties. In some cases, the Notary can be subjected to criminal prosecution, revocation, or suspension of the operation license.

Types of Notary Fraud Activities:

  • Failing to acknowledge the client’s document
  • Falsified stamps
  • Allowing the signer to sign documents in the absence of the Notary Public

Notary Fraud: The activities To Watch Out For as a Client

A notary public office and staff are prohibited from carrying out some acts. They include:

  • Performing acts that constitute the practice of law, a notary public staff is not a legal officer or lawyer
  • They are not allowed to prepare, draft, select or give advice on any legal documents
  • Notarizing a document without the presence of the client
  • Signing on behalf of their clients
  • Using a different name when signing of notarial certificates other than the one they operate under.
  • Certifying copies of documents recordable in the public records

On the other hand, notary public offices are not spared by con artists and people who will want to lie their way to gaining services and accessing legal documents illegally.

Tricks that Fraudsters Use:

  • A person who is in a hurry – Notarizing a document should not be done in a hurry, but a client who has limited time and is pushing for quick service is a red flag. Such a person will hope that you get distracted and hurry up the entire process.
  • Asking for a favor- We are always asking for favors from the people we are close to and sometimes these favors might land a firm in trouble.
  • Charming clients – A charm will be used to distract and throw you off balance so that you forget to check the documents involved carefully in the notarizing process
  • Sympathy – A sympathetic story might help a fraud get past the set rules and regulations and be able to acquire legal services illegally
  • Respectable people in society – A person of known stature might be used to trick the Notary public and perform fraud. Due to their position in society, they might get away with these tricks.

In order to protect yourself from becoming a victim of notary fraud and duping, it is important that you understand what to look for when hiring a notary public, and to carefully vet your clients as a firm. Notary fraud affects both the clients and the firms negatively and should be avoided at all costs.

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