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Six Critical Steps to Follow if a Notary Stamp is Lost


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 info@usnotaries.com.

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.

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