To authenticate the legitimacy of any signature, it is imperative that a Notary Public verifies the signer’s identity. This crucial step provides credibility to signed documents and often is the primary reason notarization is required. State laws often are vague on what constitutes satisfactory evidence of identification. Therefore, the NNA’s Recommended Notary Practices encourages all Notaries to:
Always obtain identification that contains a photograph, physical description and signature.
These three elements provide a solid basis of comparison with the physical appearance and signature of the signer appearing before the Notary. They also make it harder for a criminal to use a stolen ID. Government-issued identification documents, such as driver’s licenses and state identity cards, generally incorporate all recommended elements and are the most reliable.
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.