While healthcare Notaries know how important it is to safeguard a patient’s personal data, it’s equally important to protect records of co-workers you notarize for. Recent reports from California found more cases this year of identity thieves who use stolen identities to pose as doctors and other healthcare workers. A California Watch article reported that the Medical Board of California referred 61 cases of lay people posing as medical professionals to prosecutors during the fiscal year ending in June 2012 — nearly double the amount from the previous year. One case involved a San Francisco man who posed as a physician assistant and illegally operated a dermatology clinic. The man assumed the identity of a licensed medical professional with a similar name to his, and has been charged with stealing the victim’s identity and practicing medicine without a license. When notarizing for colleagues, always make sure your journal is kept in a safe and secure place when not in use, and is never left unattended in the open where someone can steal it or look through it for unauthorized information. If a request is made to view an individual journal entry, be sure to cover any unrelated entries on the same page to prevent the requester from viewing inappropriate private details of other notarial acts.