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Notary Bulletin

Q&A: The Notary's Role In Protecting Consumers Against Immigration Scams

The nationwide crackdown on ‘Notarios Publicos’ and other immigration scams makes it clear that Notaries must avoid unauthorized practice of law. The Immigration Sectionrecently spoke to Attorney Carlos Batara about how these scams impact immigrant communities, the various resources Notaries can offer to immigrants, and how even well-intended “assistance” can hurt both the immigrant and the Notary.

State Notary Journal Laws Affecting Legal Professionals

Keeping a journal provides important information about past notarizations and is the best protection a Notary has if they are named in a lawsuit. But Notaries working in the legal profession also need to be aware that a handful of states — including Arizona, Massachusetts and Oregon — have additional rules that directly affect legal professionals. Below is an overview of each state’s special journal laws.

What To Do If Your Journal Is Requested As Evidence

Law enforcement investigators are increasingly turning to Notary journal records for evidence in fraud cases, and at times they request to seize an entire record book for use in their case. In these situations, there are key steps a Notary can take to comply both with the investigative request and state laws regarding the preservation of journal records.

Hotline Tip: What Is A Credible Identifying Witness?

Every signer must be positively identified for a notarization to take place. But signers do not always possess acceptable identification documents. When that happens, an alternative is to use a “credible identifying witness.”

Recommended Notary Practices: Notarize Completed Documents

If a document is notarized while it still has blank spaces to be filled in, the potential for fraud increases because someone can later fill in those spaces with incorrect information outside the Notary’s presence.