Every year, thousands of US home owners fall victim to property theft due to impersonation and forgery. The notarization process plays a key role in preventing such cases through a screening process where a government official or Notary is designated to identify any attempts of manipulation of document. Once, the screening is successfully completed, the Notary signs and stamps the document to confirm the legitimacy of the document.
However, there have been instances where the notarization process has been misused by criminals to certify forged property documents. This has been done by stealing professional identity of a Notary or by forging fake notary stamps.
As a Notary, the above mentioned reasons make it imperative for you to safeguard your tools, especially your seal. Here are some ways in which you can prevent your professional identity or tools from being misused.
1. Keep your stamp secure
You have to ensure that you are the only person who has access to your stamp. If you are not using it, keep it locked up in a safe place.
2. Report missing or stolen stamp immediately
Just like you would report a missing credit card, you need to immediately report a lost or stolen notary stamp to the agency that regulates notaries in your state along with your local police.
3. Properly dispose your notary stamp upon end of commission
Upon discontinuation of your service or end of your commission date, completely destroy your notary stamp so that it cannot be misused for fraudulent activities. States have clear guidelines on proper disposal of expired stamps which should be followed.
Being a notary, you are the first line of defense against identity theft for many US citizens. Therefore, other than the steps mentioned above, it is very important for you to protect yourself from theft first.
For this, you should maintain a detailed journal of all your tasks along with signer details and equip yourself with a notary insurance policy. These preventive actions will provide you with enough funds and recorded information to prove your innocence in case you do fall victim to identity theft.