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Six Critical Steps to Follow if a Notary Stamp is Lost

by American Association of Notaries
If you lose your notary seal, will you react like the notary public in today's example? Of course, you won't! Everything that this notary does is wrong. Today, learn from his mistakes and make note of the six critical steps that you must follow when a notarial seal is lost.

Meet Paul, a terribly careless notary public:

Paul arrived at work and reached inside his unlocked notary supplies drawer for his favorite notary stamp. The round notary seal with blue ink wasn't in its place. He wasn't worried. Paul popped open his mobile notary briefcase and retrieved a smaller, rectangular-shaped notary seal that was tucked behind a stack of loose notarial certificates. The careless notary thought little more about his lost notary seal and went about his business.

At the end of the day, Paul glanced around once more, scanning the notary office for his missing notarial seal. He remembered that he might have left it on the customer counter the previous day when he left hurriedly for a mobile notary assignment. He decided to check. A notary fee sign sat on the busy customer countertop beside a tray of notary journals that Paul and the other notaries used when they were in the office. He peeked around the notary fee sign and looked in the tray of notary journals; the notary seal was not there.

The notary shrugged and boasted to his notary co-workers that the spare notary stamp in his briefcase had saved the day. Paul said that if his favorite notary seal didn't reappear in a week or so, he would invest in two duplicates just in case he lost another one. Paul left his office feeling satisfied that he had done all he needed to do regarding the lost notary seal.

Paul is a perfect example of what NOT to do. Here are the correct steps you must take if you lose your notary seal:

  1. Look diligently for the missing notarial seal; do so immediately! In the wrong hands, your seal can be used to commit fraud or forgery.

  2. Immediately advise the notary public administrator in your state that you have lost your seal. Some states require notaries to fill out a form; others require a call to the state's office. Many states have certain procedures to follow, but if none are outlined for your state, we suggest that you notify the office that issued your notary commission by certified mail as well as by email or fax. (Also, if you need authorization to order a new notary seal, request it at this time or as soon as you have fulfilled your state's requirements to receive authorization.)

  3. Report the missing notary seal to your local law enforcement. Write a very detailed description of the notary stamp including its brand, type, shape, size, and ink color; take it with you when you make your report.

  4. Advise your notary bonding agency. If you purchased your notary bond and notary supplies through the American Association of Notaries, contact us right away. Otherwise, contact your bonding and supply company. If your state does not require you to have a notary bond, you may skip this step.

  5. Order a new notary seal. Don't order a duplicate of your lost notary stamp. Your replacement notary seal should be a different size or shape, and, if possible, it should have a different color of ink. Consider changing your official notary name and signature. This might include a name change fee, but it would provide double protection for you if your notary seal is used to commit fraud or forgery.

  6. Keep records; staple copies of the above documentation in your journal. Make a detailed memo in your notary record book about the circumstances involving your missing notarial seal; document the steps you took and the date you began using your new notary stamp.

If you need our help, please call us. The American Association of Notaries is here to serve you. Call 1-800-721-2663 or email us at
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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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