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Selecting Notary Services by Web Site Claims/Content
 by Kenneth Edelstein I note with amusement the recent growth of "phantom" Notary Service web sites. No names, no home addresses, often just a cell phone number, and a machine / "dispatcher" that says "someone will get back to you". Who will you be dealing with? You should ask questions prior to making an appointment for a notary to visit you. What is the name of the notary? How long have they been doing notary work, do they have Errors and Omissions (E&O) insurance. Keep in mind that a "site" saying wonderful things does not necessarily apply to the individual who will be sent to you. In addition the Notary site should question you about your ID (the common standard is government issued photo ID), and exactly what documents you will need notarized. Some documents are illegal (in NYC) for a notary to notarize your signature. One example is a college transcript; the signature of the school's registrar (custodian of documents) is the one who must be notarized - not your signature. Notarization is not a trivial affair. If your document requires notarization, and it is done improperly - the document could be challenged and ultimately be worthless. Will the notary come properly equipped with Jurat and Acknowledgement forms, and a stamp for adding the required notary wording to documents lacking such wording? Some notaries carry just a little stamp and handwrite the notary section! Worse still, is the totally invalid practice of notaries just stamping and signing without really doing a notarization. If the site you call does not ask about what you need done, in detail; chances are that the notary's "equipment kit" is sorely lacking even the basics. When you meet the Notary the first thing, prior to asking for your ID; the Notary should show you their State's Drivers License (or similar photo ID and their Notary Commission card. Ask if the notary has an embosser for placing a raised seal on the document; useful for determining an original from a photocopy. A raised seal should always be used, especially if there is a possibility the document will go out of state.

The sites that boast of "Accreditations" are usually referring to (sometimes) paid memberships. Some sites actually just copy logos and paste them on their site for show. Real accreditations are earned, not bought. There are genuine exceptions where a competency test is required; but most are just pay the fee - use the logo. Look at several notary sites, the one with the highest search page ranking is not necessarily the best one. To protect yourself, ask questions about the facts stated on mobile notary web sites. Exactly how did they calculate their 40,000+ notarizations? Who are the 6+ staff members, what are their names? How much experience does each have? You might get the "runt" of the litter who just started! If they claim to have a motorcycle, ask the year, make and model. My point is that you should ask questions about "facts" stated - not just on Notary sites - but in any advertising. If someone will try to fool you to "get your business" they might also try to "give you the business" in other ways.... About the Author Kenneth A Edelstein is a Notary Public in New York City. Graduate of Pace University, retired from Merrill Lynch.Formerly LAN manager / PC desktop support specialist. Hobbies are Ham Radio, Camping, Motorcycle RidingFirm believer that everyone should guarantee their work. Brought to you by: Chris Eckart is a consultant and huge fan of a web hosting company that provides the highest quality hosting, exceptional support, straightforward pricing, a custom website creation tool, and they give 8% of every hosting dollar they take in to grassroots environmental initiatives!

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