If you haven’t experienced having your identity stolen by someone, it doesn’t mean you don’t have to be concerned at all, or learn a thing or two on how to prevent being a victim of identity theft. With technology advancing more and more each day, criminals are now equipped with a lot of tools to choose from, in order to commit fraudulent acts like stealing the identity of any person they target.
Identity theft occurs when someone claims to be another person, specifically for the purpose of gaining access to the person’s life, resources, or money. Aside from the name of the person, the criminal may also use that person’s credit card number or Social Security info.
There are many ways to protect you from this $18 billion crime. And one of those is obtaining the services of a notary public. A notary public is a state-appointed official authorized to perform notary services. The notary witnesses the signing of various documents to make sure that all the parties involved are correctly representing themselves, thus protecting you in dealing with any person who is faking his or her identity.
How Can A Notary Public Safeguard My Identity?
Notaries public are required by law to strictly meet all the standard procedures in performing any notarial act. A properly notarized document will give you that added protection; and will also lend some authenticity to the said paperwork.
Before affixing his or her notary seal or signature, a good notary public is going to demand from the parties to produce at least two valid proof of identification. The notary will then use all of his or her resources in validating the authenticity of the submitted identification materials.
The notary public’s meticulous verification of the person’s identity will result to a more secure notarization. That is the reason why it is very hard to contest a document that carries a seal or signature from a notary public.
What Are The Steps Taken By The Notaries Public To Avoid Impostors?
In order to give you the correct notary services, the notaries public are going to perform the following:
- Always make sure to only do the notarization when the person requesting for it is physically present before him or her.
- Always request from the signer to only sign the document in their presence.Always demand a valid proof of identification that contains a signature, photograph, and physical description.
- Always request the signers to affix their signatures and thumbprint on the notary journal. The notary is going to secure this journal for future reference.
- Always see to it that the parties are not forced or under any duress during the signing of the documents. They make sure that the signers are willing to sign the paperwork.
- Always issue a notary certificate as proof that the document is notarized — that is if a notary statement is not available on the document itself.
- Always check if the document presented is complete and does not contain any blank lines within the wordings.
- Always use a state-approved notary seal in affixing and acknowledging the signature of the person requesting the notarization.
- Always avoid giving suggestions or advice to the parties involved with regards to the document, unless if they have the right credentials or professional training in doing so.
What Happens When The Notary Improperly Performs A Notary Act?
When a notary public fails to properly verify a person’s identification, that notary is held liable in the court of law. That is one of the reasons notaries public don’t just accept any copy of a person’s identification proof. If you hire a notary, make sure that he or she is very vigilant in background checking, not someone who just robotically scan the identification material given by a client.
Where Do I Find A Notary Public?
To look for a notary public, you may call or visit the Secretary of State’s office or any government agency in charge of notaries public to request for a list. With the advent of technology, you can now also find a notary using your computer, smartphone, or tablet, via search engines like Google or Bing. You may also visit websites that showcases a comprehensive list of commissioned notaries available in near your area.
Lastly, you may also ask the notary public to give you a list of indicators, or “red flags”, to know what to look for when dealing with people who possess a stolen identity. A professional notary will always guide you and deter you from becoming a victim of identity theft. As a suggestion, don’t just depend on the notary public in protecting you from this crime, you also have the responsibility to learn and research about identity theft. In turn, you will have the opportunity to help stop these criminals from destroying your life, or other people’s lives.
About the Author:
Casey Likeness is the Director of Support for FindNotary.com and has published a number notary-related article. Follow him on Twitter – @NotaryFind