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Beware Phone Scammers Posing As Notary Surety Bond Companies

Beware Phone Scammers Posing As Notary Surety Bond Companies

Notaries be warned: If you receive a call from someone regarding your surety bond and demanding personal information or a payment, it may be a scam. A Florida Notary was recently contacted by a scammer who tried to trick them into thinking the caller was a representative of Merchants Bonding Company.

Jim Holter, Vice President Commercial Surety for Merchant’s Bonding Company, advised that Notaries receiving such calls should contact their insurance agency or call Merchants directly to check the caller’s authenticity.

“Never give them any personal information or credit card information over the phone,” Holter said.

The Notary had obtained a Merchants surety bond through the NNA. The caller, who claimed to be a Merchants representative, told the Notary that the rate on the surety bond had changed and demanded a payment. After contacting Merchants and the NNA, the Notary learned there was no such rate change.

Because Notaries are public officials and many states publish information about them in online directories and databases, con artists may be able to look up this information to contact Notaries and try to trick them into providing sensitive details by phone that can be used for identity theft or other scams.

Merchants Bonding Company normally does not contact Notaries about their bond by phone, Holter said. “If you get a call from someone claiming to be from Merchants, it’s highly likely it’s an improper call,” he said.

If you receive a suspicious call about a surety bond, E&O policy or other Notary-related materials you have obtained through the NNA, do not provide any private information to the caller. Instead, contact the NNA’s Customer Care team at 1-800-876-6827 or Services@NationalNotary.org to verify first whether the call is genuine.

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

 

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