Homeland Security - A Notary Can Contribute

A notary public is at the forefront of security, in that notaries can significantly reduce fraud and are often responsible for detection of fraudulent identification documents.

Notaries should be alert, not afraid. If you are faced with a suspicious client, or detect what you feel may be fraudulent identification, or if you become aware of an illegal activity, please alert the authorities immediately.

A notary can help prevent fraud by maintaining the following safety measures:

  • Carefully scrutinize all identification documents presented and compare photo and descriptions carefully to the client presenting them.

  • Watch for alterations or any unusual appearance or condition of ID cards.

  • Continually observe your client and also those around you and be aware of any suspicious activity or behavior.

  • Be wary of 'distractions' by others who may be there to create a disturbance in an attempt to make you less attentive.

  • Document anything you may feel is even slightly irregular, including identifying marks, scars, limps, or other defining characteristics. This is an excellent use of your journal.

  • Politely refuse to notarize if you suspect coercion or fraud.

  • Notify authorities inconspicuously and immediately if you suspect illegal or dangerous activities or plans. Be discreet and cautious.

  • Never attempt to 'take the law into your own hands' - that could prove to be extremely dangerous for you and others around you. Let trained and highly skilled law enforcement officers handle the situation.


Legal Disclaimer: The American Association of Notaries is committed to providing accurate and up-to-date information. However, it is important to note that the information provided on this page is for general informational purposes only and should not be relied upon as legal advice. We do not claim to be attorneys and do not guarantee the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of the information provided. It is your responsibility to know the appropriate notary laws governing your state. You should always seek the advice of a licensed attorney for any legal matters. In no event shall the American Association of Notaries, its employees, or contractors be liable to you for any claims, penalties, losses, damages, or expenses, howsoever arising, including, and without limitation, direct or indirect loss, or consequential loss, out of or in connection with the use of the information contained on any of the American Association of Notaries website pages. Notaries are advised to seek the advice of their state’s notary authorities or attorneys if they have legal questions. 

Notary bonds and errors and omissions insurance policies provided by this insurance agency, American Association of Notaries, Inc., are underwritten by Western Surety Company, Universal Surety of America, or Surety Bonding Company of America, which are subsidiaries of CNA Surety.