The Consequences of Not Protecting Your Notary Stamp or Notary Seal

A notary stamp on a document plays a crucial role in instilling trust and confidence among strangers engaging in business transactions. A notary’s stamp affixed on a document proves that the notary has verified the signers’ identities and their willingness to sign, thereby facilitating smoother and more secure transaction.

Notaries are bound by law and professional ethics to safeguard their notary tools. The consequences for the notary whose notary stamp is misused are dire. For individuals and businesses, the misuse of a notary stamp can lead to significant financial and legal consequences.  

Here are the key consequences of not properly securing your notary stamp and seal:

1- Unauthorized Use

An unsecured notary stamp can easily fall into the wrong hands, leading to unauthorized use. Individuals with malicious intent may use the notary stamp to forge important documents such as property deeds, wills, and legal agreements. This misuse can result in fraudulent activities that can be difficult to detect.

2- Legal and Financial Liability

A notary whose stamp is used without authorization could face legal repercussions. If a fraudulently notarized document leads to financial loss or legal issues for any party involved, the notary could be held liable for negligence in securing their notary stamp or notary seal. This liability can extend to civil penalties, including financial restitution to the affected parties.

3- Loss of Professional Credibility and Trust

The foundation of a notary's role is trust and integrity. If a notary stamp is misused due to a notary’s negligence in securing it, the professional reputation of the notary can be severely damaged. Loss of trust from clients and the broader community can lead to a decline in business, and the notary may find it challenging to rebuild their professional standing.

4-  Revocation of the Notary Commission

Many states have strict regulations governing the conduct of notaries. If a notary is found to have been negligent in properly storing their notary stamp or failing to report the loss or theft of their stamp, they could face disciplinary actions from their state’s notary authority, including the suspension or revocation of their notary commission. Losing the ability to practice as a notary can have significant career and financial implications.

5- Negative Impact on Victims

The implications can be extensive for those affected by fraudulent documents produced with a stolen notary stamp. Individuals and businesses may face legal challenges or financial losses and have to invest time and resources in rectifying the implications of the fraud. This could involve contesting unlawful claims, resolving identity theft issues, or correcting falsified records, which could strain personal or business relations and disrupt operations.

To avoid these consequences, implement stringent security measures to protect your notary stamp. Here are few such measures you can take:

  • Always store your notary stamp in a secure location only you can access.
  • When the notary stamp is in use, keep it within your sight and reach at all times.
  • Avoid leaving your notary stamp in a vehicle or unattended in public spaces.
  • Report a lost or stolen notary stamp to your state’s notary authority and to law enforcement.  This ensures an official record of the loss or theft, which may minimize your legal liability for any unauthorized documents that subsequently appear.

The consequences of not securing a notary stamp underscore the critical importance of diligently handling and storing your notary stamp or seal. Notaries must adopt strict security measures to protect their stamps and maintain the trust the public places in them. Ensuring the security of the notary stamp is not only a legal obligation but also a fundamental aspect of upholding the integrity and effectiveness of the notary public profession.


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.