How to Handle Lost or Stolen Notary Supplies

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.

Legal Disclaimer: The American Association of Notaries seeks to provide timely articles for notaries to assist them with information for managing their notary businesses, enhancing their notary education, and securing their notary stamp and notary supplies. Every effort is made to provide accurate and complete information in the American Association of Notaries newsletters. However, we make no warrant, expressed or implied, and we do not represent, undertake, or guarantee that the information in the newsletter is correct, accurate, complete, or non-misleading. 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 notaries' best practices, federal laws and statutes, and the laws and statutes of each state, we have gathered this information from a variety of sources and do not warrant its accuracy. In no event shall the American Association of Notaries, its employees, or contractors be liable to you for any claims, penalties, loss, damage, 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 in the American Association of Notaries newsletters. It is your responsibility to know the appropriate notary laws governing your state. Notaries are advised to seek the advice of their states' notary authorities or attorneys in their state if they have legal questions. If a section of this disclaimer is determined by any court or other competent authority to be unlawful and/or unenforceable, the other sections of this disclaimer continue in effect.

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.

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