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3 questions signers should never ask Notaries

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Updated 7-17-23. While good customer service is an important part of any Notary business, your duties require you to say ‘no’ to any improper requests from a signer. Here are 3 requests that no signer should ever ask of a Notary — and no Notary should ever agree to.

Question 1: “I don’t have ID — can’t you just skip that part?” 

A frequent request from signers lacking proper identification — and one you should never accept — is asking a Notary to skip the identification process and notarize without it.  As a Notary, you must always follow state Notary laws when identifying a signer. In some states, a signer who lacks identification can be identified through alternative methods, such as credible identifying witnesses. But if a signer asks you to notarize without being identified, always say ‘no.’

Question 2: “I need this signature notarized — but I can’t be there. Can’t you just notarize it anyway as a favor?”

Many Notaries have lost their commissions and faced costly lawsuits by saying ‘yes’ to this question. If the person who made the signature is not present for the notarization, there is no way for you to tell if the signature was made willingly — or even if the signature was genuine!

Never accept a request to notarize an absent person’s signature without the signer being present — even if the person asking you is a spouse, relative or friend. There have been cases where a trusted family member or colleague has convinced a Notary to do so, only for the Notary to find out later that the person making the request was committing fraud. And once that happens, the Notary faces serious potential legal penalties and liability for negligence.

Question 3: “I need to meet a deadline — can you change the date of notarization on the document to help me out?”

Many documents you are asked to notarize are time-sensitive, especially real estate documents. Sometimes a Notary will be asked to back-date or post-date the date the notarization took place. Doing so is against the law in every state. Never falsify the date a notarization takes place on a notarial certificate — doing so is illegal and could lead to serious civil and criminal penalties against you.

Need guidance?

If you have questions about a customer request, contact your state Notary agency or a resource such as the NNA Notary Hotline for guidance before you proceed.

David Thun is the Assistant Managing Editor with the National Notary Association

Related Articles:

How to spot illegal Notary requests

5 scammers Notaries need to watch out for

When to say ‘No’ … and when refusing a notarization is not allowed

Additional Resources:

Notary Essentials

The Notary Public Code Of Professional Responsibility

View All: Best Practices


Add your comment

Eloise Brown

03 May 2022

I what is the process in being a remote notary? What are fees for Arkansas?

National Notary Association

10 May 2022

Hello. You can find more Arkansas RON information here:

LaThomas odell white

07 May 2022

I want to learn more of what to do not to do at a notary Republic

National Notary Association

30 Jun 2022

Hello. You can find more information on that here:

Inez Carroll

06 Jun 2022

None at this time

Paula simpson

17 Jun 2022

How do I become a traveling notary in the state of Arizona, and how much does it cost?

National Notary Association

17 Jun 2022

Hello! Please visit for steps to become a Notary in Arizona and to get more information including the related costs.

Elisa Brooks

31 Jul 2023

How do I become a travel notary for the state of Connecticut?

National Notary Association

31 Jul 2023

Hello. Please see here for more information:

Kristi Coleman

31 Jul 2023

Does the ID requirement still apply if you know the signer personally?

National Notary Association

31 Jul 2023

Hello. To help us answer your question, what state are you commissioned in?

Lavleen Singh

31 Jul 2023

What is process for remote notary in Maryland Montgomery county?

National Notary Association

31 Jul 2023

Hello. For more information, please see here:

Guillermina Miranda

31 Jul 2023

Can you send me information from Florida?

National Notary Association

31 Jul 2023

Hello. What type of information are you looking for?

Angela Leggett

31 Jul 2023

I am a E Notary, how can I find a loan signing class in Fayetteville NC?

National Notary Association

18 Sep 2023

Hello. While we offer online training, you can check with your local community college or any other location that may offer education training.


31 Jul 2023

The other day I was asked, "Can't you just stamp it, it's no big deal." Yeah, it kind of is... I keep running into people that think that Notarization flat out means whatever it is is legit, approved, legal, as long as I've stamped it. I send them to the Secretary of State's website to show them it's not.


31 Jul 2023

Can you be a notary and two different states?

National Notary Association

31 Jul 2023

Hello. Please see this article for more information:

Esmeralda Salazar

04 Aug 2023

How can I go about in obtaining remote notarizations' in the state of California and are they available in this state?

National Notary Association

07 Aug 2023

Hello. California Notaries are not authorized to perform remote notarizations.

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