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How to Handle Lost or Stolen Notary Supplies

by American Association of Notaries
Notaries are responsible for safeguarding their notary supplies and protecting them from fraudulent use. When not in use, it is a good idea to keep your notary stamp and notary supplies in a locked drawer or cabinet, especially if you are an employee notary and conduct notary transactions at your place of business. Even with every safeguard in place, however, it is possible that your notary stamp may be misplaced or lost.

As soon as you become aware that your stamp or notary seal is lost, you should immediately report the fact to the agency or body in your state that has jurisdiction over notaries public. This may be the office of the Secretary of State, the State Treasurer, the Department of Licensing, or another governing body. In most cases, you will be required to send to the commissioning authority a certified letter, signed by you, that contains your name, and all of your commission information, and the last date that the notary stamp was in your possession.

If you suspect that your notary stamp has actually been stolen, it is prudent to report the theft to the local police department so that a police report can be generated. Some governing bodies require that a copy of the police report be sent along with the signed, certified letter to the state agency. Some states may actually issue the notary a new commission number. The notary will then have to have a new stamp made with the new commission number.

In cases where the old commission number is retained, it is a good idea to have the replacement notary stamp made with a minor variation or modification. This will distinguish the new notary stamp from the old stamp, in case the old stamp falls into the hands of some unscrupulous person who may put it to fraudulent use. If the old stamp is subsequently found, it should properly destroyed and discarded.
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Legal disclaimer: The American Association of Notaries seeks to provide timely articles for notaries to assist them with information and ideas for managing their notary businesses, enhancing their notary educations, and securing their notary supplies but makes no claims, promises, or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained . Information in this article is not intended as legal advice. We are not attorneys. We do not pretend to be attorneys. Though we will sometimes provide information regarding federal laws and statutes and the laws and statutes of each state, we have gathered the information from a variety of sources. We do not warrant the information gathered from those sources. It is your responsibility to know the appropriate laws governing your state. Notaries are advised to seek the advice of an attorney in their state if they have legal questions about how to notarize.
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