Verifying a signer’s identity lies at the heart of every notarial act. While signers may prove their identities in any number of ways, Notaries increasingly are asking them to record their thumbprints in journal entries. This practice deters impostors from trying to commit fraud, because they will be reluctant to leave behind evidence that could link them to a crime. Therefore, the NNA’s Recommended Notary Practices encourages all Notaries to:
Always ask for a thumbprint of the signer in your journal to help protect against imposture.
Recording the thumbprint for every signer also protects the Notary if the notarization is ever contested. While only California and Illinois have any kind of thumbprint requirement, a growing number of public officials are endorsing the practice.
Editor’s Note: Throughout 2011, the Notary Bulletin will focus on one of the NNA’s Recommended Notary Practices each month. The complete list of Recommended Notary Practices is available online.