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Notary Bulletin

The Challenge Of Matricula Consular Cards

As a full-time Notary Signing Agent, I have been encountering assignments in recent months where the only ID the signer has is a Matricula Consular card. This has been particularly true for REO, or bank-owned, property sales. Because of the large inventory of bank-owned real estate in the current housing market, Notaries around the country may be having similar experiences.

Matricula Consular cards, also known as the Matricula Consular de Alta Seguridad and Mexican CID cards, are issued by Mexican consulates to its citizens residing outside of Mexico.

Supporters of Matricula cards argue that accepting them is necessary in an age when photo identification is required to conduct daily business. They say that the card is secure and fraud-resistant, improves security and brings people into the open financial community where transactions can be monitored more easily. Opponents of the cards argue that they are not secure and are needed only by undocumented immigrants.

[Editor’s note: The U.S. Department of Justice and the FBI have consistently maintained that Matricula Consularcards are highly vulnerable to tampering, fraud and forgery. Nevada and Illinois are the only two states that specifically allow Notaries to accept Matricula cards as satisfactory evidence of identification for notarizations.]

While many of the REO sales are cash-only transactions, title companies still require the buyer’s notarized signature on several documents, and Signing Agents are responsible for verifying the buyer’s ID. In a typical scenario, I’ll arrive at the office of the buyer’s agent for the closing. The buyer will present a Matricula card, saying he does not have any other ID. The buyer’s agent will wink and say proper ID it is not a big deal because it’s a cash transaction.

Of course, proper ID is ALWAYS a big deal whenever you are notarizing a document — no matter what the document is. Here are a few suggestions about dealing with identification issues:

  • Review your state’s Notary handbook. Know the laws are in your state regarding satisfactory evidence of ID and accepting the Matricula cards. You can usually find a copy of your state handbook online on the Secretary of State’s website.
  • Review the 10 Steps to Prevent Notary Claims athttp://youtu.be/mM8hyhFWIIM video produced by the NNA. Pay particular attention to Step 3.
  • Have a plan in place for how you will deal with ID issues before you arrive at a location to notarize a document.

Ultimately, it is our duty as Notaries to verify the identity of signers. If we have any reasonable doubts, we should not proceed.

Daniel Lewis is the owner of Lewis Notary Services Inc. and a contributor to the Notary Bulletin.

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