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When A Customer Takes Your Seal

New Hotline Resized 3I’m a Texas Notary. A customer came into my office and asked to have her signature notarized on some documents. I brought out my journal and stamp, but the customer refused to provide me with any identification. She argued with me about it, but I told her I could not perform the notarization and she left — and then I noticed my stamp was missing! What should I do?

You need to report this as soon as possible to the Texas Secretary of State’s Legal Support Unit. They can be reached by phone at (512) 463-5705 or by mail at P.O. Box 13375, Austin, TX 78711. Unfortunately, there are dishonest people out there who use stolen or forged Notary seals to help commit document fraud. To prevent theft of a seal, it’s essential to keep control of your seal at all times during a notarization and be sure never to leave it unattended or out of your sight when using it.

David Thun is an Associate Editor at the National Notary Association.

Confronted with a tricky notarization? Unsure how to proceed? NNA members have unlimited access to our expertly trained NNA Hotline consultants to help you with all of your notarial questions. Call (888) 876-0827, Monday through Friday, 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. PST; Saturday, 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST.

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22 Sep 2014

Don't pull the seal out until after everything is signed. I always leave it in my secured carrier, sitting next to me, until the end. Use it and put it back. No need to leave it out in the open, until seal is required.

John Morgan

16 Apr 2015

While I agree with the answer above I also think the theft should be reported to the police. Theft is still a crime.

Lucy lim

16 Apr 2015

I always scan thru docs n make sure they have the proper ID before I take out my seal .

Linda Ouille

16 Apr 2015

File a police report as well. This will help if your seal is used by another person to commit fraud and you have to defend yourself. Give a full description of the person who you dealt with, what was asked and time, date etc.

Dave Love

16 Apr 2015

I agree with John, absolutely report the theft to the police, @ least get it on the record that you made a police report, it will certainly help any legal action taken against her, and might just save your you-know-what if she would ever attempt to use it and a case comes about. Your legal footing will be waaay stronger if you can go into court and say "Yes, she stole my Notary stamp, here's the police report documenting the theft. Once you make that report, I don't see any way you could be held liable for any fraud she might commit. Without documentation, sure, you'll eventually be cleared, but I'd much rather pay a lawyer for one day in court than a week! Protect yourself! NOW!

C Chacon-Brandlin

16 Apr 2015

I was advised by a police officer friend that you must get a police report as well as report it to Secretary of State and include a copy of the Police report as that will protect you from fraudulent accusations. I will usually pull out my Ledger, pen and acknowledgment l and pull out the seal when I need to stamp. Just advise given to me by a Notary friend of mine.

Michael E Harris

18 Apr 2015

I would call the police Immediately and then the state's notary office.

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