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Notary Bulletin

FTC's 'Three-D' Approach Helps Notaries, Consumers Battle Identity Theft

As experts in identity authentication, Notaries play a key frontline role within organizations in preventing identity theft. But skilled identity thieves continue to find new ways to target the financial sector, and the scams are becoming far more sophisticated in the digital age.

In an effort to help protect consumers, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has issued an easy-to-remember “Three-D” approach — Deter, Detect, and Defend — to fighting identity theft. Notaries working in the financial industry can help combat identity theft by employing these techniques themselves and sharing them with their consumers.

  • Deter: Keep your personal information secure and safeguarded. For Notaries, this also applies to your notarial records. Journals and seals should remain secured at all times. Documents containing confidential financial information should either be locked up or shredded. Social Security Cards and information should be closely safeguarded. And avoid using obvious passwords on accounts that savvy identity thieves could guess.
  • Detect: Keep a close eye on financial accounts and billing statements, and raise immediate questions if any suspicious transactions show up on the accounts or if a statement fails to reach you, which could indicate that it was intercepted.
  • Defend: If a crime does occur, file a police report and report the theft to the Federal Trade Commission, so they can further investigate the crime. Place a “Fraud Alert” on your credit report, which will notify creditors that they need to perform certain procedures if anyone tries to open a new account or make changes to an existing one. As a Notary, if you suspect that a signer is using a fraudulent ID, stop the notarization and contact the authorities as soon as possible. If you feel it is unsafe to stop the notarization, complete the act and then contact authorities afterwards.

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