Your Cookies are Disabled! NationalNotary.org sets cookies on your computer to help improve performance and provide a more engaging user experience. By using this site, you accept the terms of our cookie policy. Learn more.

Avoiding Accidental Notary Privacy Breaches

privacy-computer-peeping-re.jpgUpdated 8-9-18. When you notarize, you gain access to a great deal of sensitive information about your signers. You need to be careful not to reveal too much about customers, even in casual chats with friends or when leaving comments on Facebook. Below are some tips to help Notaries avoid unintentional breaches of signer privacy.

1. Don't leave your Notary journal unattended in the open while working. 
 

Journals can include a great deal of sensitive information about signers, including names, contact information and titles of documents they had notarized. To prevent anyone not authorized from looking at this information be sure not to leave your journal in the open unattended if you have to step away from your desk. Put the journal away in a locked, secure area you control until you can return and resume your work.

2. Don't talk about private details of a notarization with other people. 
 

While everyone enjoys chatting at the water cooler, it’s not appropriate to disclose details of a signer’s notarization in casual conversation. Mentioning a signer's name and that they needed a power of attorney notarized for an ailing parent, or updated a will to alter a child’s inheritance, is a breach of the signer's privacy. Keep the details about a notarization in your journal, and don't talk about it with others.

3. Don't post private information about signers on social media. 
 

Similar to talking about notarizations, sensitive information about notarial acts — such as signer names, personal information and details about their documents — should not be shared via email or social sites such as Facebook. Remember, anything posted on the internet is likely to be seen by dozens — if not hundreds — of other people.

If you want to ask a question or discuss a notarization, it's better to stick to generalities and avoid going into potentially private details. For example, asking online "I had a notarization where one of two signers didn’t appear. Can I notarize for the one who is present in such cases?" doesn't reveal private information about the signers. However, posting "Hey, my neighbor John Doe from Burbank came into my office to sign power of attorney documents. I notarized his signature but we couldn't proceed further because his wife Jane had a fight with him and refused to show up!" on Facebook would not be appropriate.

 

4 Comments

Add your comment

Shari Neuberger

27 Jul 2017

What about the fact that the journals have consecutive rows where it's easy to see at least who signed previously on the page? I clip paper over both sides up to the next blank line but it is a bit of a nuisance.

Jaclyn M

21 Jun 2018

What about that they are public documents and are a matter of public record. Any me,her of the public can ask and we are required to show them the journal.

National Notary Association

22 Jun 2018

Hello. Even when a journal is considered a public record, you must still follow any state rules regarding access to the journal and storing the journal. For example California requires members of the public to submit a written request to a Notary before being allowed to view a journal entry. A Notary should never leave a journal unattended where it might be stolen or improperly used.

Nancy M

20 Aug 2018

Wow! I'm shocked that someone thinks it necessary to point out that as notaries we shouldn't post private information about signers on social media. I usually find your articles informative and while information isn't all new, it is frequently a good reminder of some point. But this one...really?! Feels pretty insulting.

Leave a Comment

Required *

All comments are reviewed and if approved, will display.