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What To Do If Your Notary Seal Or Journal Goes Missing

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Updated 10-3-17. Your Notary seal and journal are essential tools of your profession and need to be safeguarded at all times. Crooks covet Notary tools because a seal and the information in a journal can be used to create fraudulent documents. If a seal or journal go missing, it’s crucial to take immediate steps. 

Report It
 

Report lost or stolen Notary tools to your local police department as soon as possible, and retain a photocopy of the report. Unless officials know someone has taken your tools, you could potentially be blamed if another person uses them to commit fraud.

You should also report any missing tools to your state’s Notary regulating agency as soon as possible — in California and Florida this is required by state law. Florida requires a lost seal to be reported to the Department of State in writing. California requires a lost, misplaced, stolen, destroyed or damaged journal notification to include the Notary’s commission number, expiration date, the time period covered by the journal and a photocopy of any relevant police report. 

California Notaries must report a lost, misplaced, stolen, destroyed or damaged seal, too. Negligently failing to notify the Secretary of State of a lost seal could result in a hefty fine; willful failure to report a lost journal could result in the Notary’s commission being suspended or revoked.

Replace It
 

Once you’ve reported your tools missing, you should replace them as soon as possible. If your seal was lost or stolen, be sure to follow all steps required by your state if you need to replace it. Nevada requires its Notaries to file a new Certificate of Appointment and request a replacement seal within 10 days after a seal is lost. Washington requires a replacement to differ in some way from the seal that was lost or stolen — for example, the new seal may feature a different border around the seal impression. If you need to change the format of a replacement seal, contact your state Notary regulating agency to confirm what type of change is acceptable.

Prevent It
 

Replacing your journal or seal can be frustrating. While it’s not a foolproof solution, taking steps to protect your seal and journal now can go a long way toward keeping them safe. Never leave your seal and journal unattended, don’t leave them visible in your vehicle, and store them in a locked and secured area when they aren’t being used. A pinch of prevention is definitely better than a pound of cure when it comes to keeping your tools safe.

Additional Resources:

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12 Comments

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Charles T Spancer #6033812

24 Oct 2016

Over 6 two years ago my car was broken in and all my notary equipment was stolen! it was in my briefcase. I reported it to the Police and hand delivered a copy to the notary board,I never heard from the board. it was confirmed it was there,

Randall

24 Oct 2016

This is very good info to know. I recommend you copy and keep it handy so you will know what to do if you loose your STAMP OR JOURNAL.

D

03 Nov 2016

What is one supposed to do with the all of the "stuff" if one is not a notary any longer? I always wondered this.

National Notary Association

03 Nov 2016

Hello D. Different states have different rules regarding disposal of Notary seals and journals when the Notary's commission ends. If you have a question regarding a specific state, please let us know which one and we'll be happy to provide more information.

Suzanne Serratoe

23 May 2017

In the state of Florida what do you do if you lose your journal. It's not clear if Florida requires you keep a journal, although I do.

National Notary Association

24 May 2017

Hello. Since Florida Notaries are not required by law to keep a journal, the state does not provide rules regarding what steps to take if your journal is lost or stolen. We would suggest contacting your local law enforcement office and asking if you can file a report about the missing journal, so you have a record that it was lost.

Cindy Kindle

10 Oct 2017

I am a victim of hurricane Harvey and my home flooded and my notary stamp and book was totally ruined. I have reordered my stamp and book but have no records of previous notary events. Will this be issues

National Notary Association

12 Oct 2017

Hello Cindy. Are you commissioned in Texas, or a different state?

Guadalupe Torrez

19 Oct 2017

i have two seals that I need to get rid. What can i do?

National Notary Association

19 Oct 2017

Hello Guadalupe. To help us answer your question can you please tell us what state you are commissioned in?

gpoole13@gmail.com

27 Oct 2017

Lost stamp I'm a notary in Illinois. I need to replace my stamp. Please advise

National Notary Association

31 Oct 2017

Hello. Page 28 of the Illinois Notary Public Handbook recommends that you report the theft to the police. If for any reason you lose possession of your seal, it is recommended that you resign your commission.

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