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WWYD Answers: The case of the odd Signing Agent assignment

what would you do odd signing assignment article

Last week, we shared a real-life situation in which a Notary Signing Agent received an email offering a high-paying loan signing appointment. However, the message was written in all lowercase letters and contained misspellings, the date on the email was incorrect and the message directed the Signing Agent to click on a link in the email and enter password information to download the loan documents.

We asked you, our readers, how you would handle this odd situation. Here’s some of the suggestions you offered:

What Notaries and Signing Agents said

Several readers agreed that both the message and the way it was sent were suspicious.

“First, I’ve never heard of the company. Second, why would they have documents for me if I didn’t accept an assignment? Third, the formatting of the email is a giveaway to a possible scam,” said Monique Edwards Robinson. “Not all money is good money; delete the email.”

Beth Lawson said that any companies offering her a legitimate loan signing assignment would already have her email address and would email her the loan documents directly. She also said the message being all in lowercase was a red flag to her. “I always delete these requests without a response,” she said.

Others suggested looking up the company on Google or other search engines before responding to confirm if the sender is legitimate. “You need to Google the company for the phone number and call them to see if it is for real,” said Tara L. Smyser.

Melody S. Dietz said she once received a similar email, went online to look up the sender and found nothing. “It was unlikely a company would offer that amount of money for a single signing,” she said. “I blocked the sender and deleted the email.”

“If you get email from unknown sources, be sure to read into them as much as you can before opening and be sure to have a good security program on your computer,” said Mike Wilder. “I know that as business has become so scarce in recent times, we’re all lightning quick to just accept assignments, but we need to be extra careful with the odd ones like this.”

Guidance from the NNA

In this case, the Signing Agent who received the strange email offer contacted the NNA Notary Hotline. Our Hotline team agreed with our readers — all the clues (including the strange spelling, unfamiliar sender and atypical request regarding the loan document link) pointed to the email being a scam to trick the Notary into sharing password information or downloading a virus or malware by clicking the link in the email. The Hotline team recommended the NSA delete the email without clicking any links in the message.

In addition to the clues in the email described above, there are other signs the Federal Trade Commission warns people to watch out for, such as:

  • The email includes an invoice you don’t recognize
  • The email asks you send them or “confirm” sensitive personal or financial information
  • The email says you have a billing, account or payment issue and you need to click on a link or open an attachment to resolve it

If you receive an email that looks odd or suspicious, the safest course is to delete it. Don’t click on any links in the email, and don’t open any files attached to the message. Also, don’t try to contact the sender by phone or other contact means included in the email — they might be fake as well. Instead, look up the company’s information on Google to see if they have a website or contact information available. If it doesn’t match what appears in the email, that’s another clue that the message is probably a scam.

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

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Sherald Barnes

07 Nov 2022

Good morning..I would like to get started signing documents...but I have not had training so what I need to do? Please advise me

National Notary Association

10 Nov 2022

Hello. You can find more information about getting started as a Signing Agent here:

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