A Florida grand jury studying the problem of identity theft concluded that businesses lose an average of $17,000 per identity theft victim. A Notary Public is one of lines of defense against identity fraud, the continuing crime after the actual identity theft.
During sensitive transactions, such as the purchase or sale of real estate, a Notary Public who performs their duties properly and with a keen eye, can serve as a deterrent in fraudulent situations.
Here are three basic reminders of what Notaries should know <em>without fail</em>, to prevent identity fraud:
First and foremost, the signer must personally appear in front of the Notary to sign.
Secondly, the signer must provide proper identification. NO photocopies of licenses, or passports. Only the original document. Birth Certificates are not valid identification.A good Notary knows what constitutes valid ID.
Third, watch the individual sign the document and examine the signature for any discrepancies between their signature and the identification provided.
Keeping a Notarial log of each transaction handled is an added measure of protection. Keep in mind that Florida recommends, but does not require Notaries to keep a log - there are States that require a Notary Public to maintain a transaction log.
CYA - Keep a log.