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Protect Yourself: Report Stolen Notary Seals!

by American Association of Notaries
Have you recently left a job and had your seal or journal held back by your employer? Have you noticed that one or more of your seals is missing? If so, take immediate action to protect yourself.

This year's news stories have told us that stolen and missing notary seals are frequently the basis of fraudulent transactions. In those stories, notaries are accused of being complicit in illegal land transactions or other types of fraud. If the notaries claim their notary seals are lost or missing, but have not reported the fact to their notary public administrators' offices or law enforcement, the involved notaries have big problems. It is hard to tell if those notaries are guilty or themselves victims of crimes.

In many states, when notaries do not report the theft of notary stamps, journals, or commission certificates, they have broken the law. The same may be true when notary seals and journals are illegally retained by employers. Whether or not your state penalizes notaries with fines or criminal charges for not making these types of reports, report these events to protect yourself.

The uniqueness of your official notary signature can't always defend you. Your notarial signature may be on displayed in the public records of your county or state if you have notarized documents involved in real estate transactions. If so, it's not hard for a savvy criminal to find your signature and learn to duplicate it sufficiently to fool many law enforcement and court officials. In these types of cases, you have no defense against fraudulent use of your stolen notary seal. If you have not reported your seal as lost or stolen, how can you prove you did not help a criminal steal property or other assets by using your notarial seal and signature?

Protect yourself! Report theft of your notary seals and journals to your state's notary public administrator and law enforcement. Make sure that your local police or sheriff's department has a record of the theft and that you retain a copy for your own files. When you file a notice of theft with your notary public administrator, do so via certified mail return receipt requested or in another manner that gives you proof that you delivered that complaint to your state notary offices.

If you have been a victim of notary seal theft and you are unsure of what to do, contact us at, send a message on facebook, or call us at 1-800-721-2663.
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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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