Tuesday, September 23, 2008

California Jurats Require An Oath

Often when I'm out visiting clients to perform notarizations, people always tell me this: "Nobody has ever done that before". I ask them: what? They say that a Notary Public has never asked them to raise their hands and swear that the contents of a document are true. I am always amazed when they tell me that. Why? Well, because there are 2 kinds of notarizations: Acknowledgements and Jurats. Both types are quite common, and both types are frequently found in loan document packages. I am quite sure that in the case of Jurats, many notaries do not perform the oath, which is required by California law (and other state laws, as well).

Once I trying to do business with a company that signed up people to mortgage loans. This company had the ability to lend through many institutions- WAMU, Countrywide, and more. This financial company received commissions when they sold mortgage loans with these lenders. They proposed to me that I might start notarizing their loan documents, but told me that they would turn all the pages, the signers would sign the documents, and I would simply stamp everything and not say a word. "What about giving the clients the oath on Jurats?", I asked. "What are you talking about?", they wanted to know. I told them that by California law, the Notary must see the signers sign the documents, and the Notary must give an oath to the clients". "David, you had better never give any client an oath. You'll scare them. [The President of the Company] would have a heart attack if you did that", I was told. "Well, I don't know what your Notary has been doing, but if they haven't been giving oaths to your clients, they are not doing their JOB!" I said. I wound up not doing any notarizations for that company, mainly for this reason. (I was also lied to initially and told that I would be paid $200 per notarization- then I found out that they would only pay me $100, and their company would keep the other $100).

Another time, I was called into a Mortgage Company, which couldn't reach its regular Notary. When I performed a Jurat for the clients and gave an oath, the loan officer asked me why I was doing that. "It is required by law for a Jurat", I said. I was told that their Notary never did that. Again, I told them that the Notary wasn't doing their job. It seems to me that because Notaries compel people to tell the truth when giving Jurats, many companies, who often lie themselves and don't care about the law or the truth, will frequently use Notaries who don't challenge them. Listen up, Notaries: failure to perform the oath on a Jurat can come back to seriously bite you. If it ever comes out in a court or administative hearing from the Secretary of State that you failed to administer a required oath for a Jurat, you will be subject to a huge fine- something like $7,500 (I have to check the Secretary of State's website for the exact amount, but it is substatial.)

In closing, Notaries should respect themselves and their job, and do everything that is required by law. In doing your job well, you will feel pride in your work and know that you are doing the right thing. The mortgage companies look out for themselves. Your signers rely on you to do your job correctly.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Is Your Identity Protected? Protect Yourself!

Your personal information is out there in a lot of places. Did you know that you have more than one source of your identity? There's your driver's license identity; your medical identity; your social security identity; and your financial identity. Any of these can be compromised, and used to establish credit and run up bills in your name. If you have ever applied for a loan, applied for a job, had some documents notarized, applied for a credit card, attended a university, or obtained medical insurance, you should know that your information is out there. Just over a year ago, UCLA sent me a letter notifying me that someone had compromised their student records, and that someone had obtained my personal information, including my full name, address, and social security number. They suggested that I contact the credit bureaus.

I also received a letter about a year ago from TJ Maxx, notifying me that someone had compromised their database, and that it was possible that some of my personal financial information may have been compromised. My Mom got the same letter, but she shopped there a lot; I had only shopped there once in a year.

The bottom line is that although UCLA and TJ Maxx noticed that someone had accessed their records and stolen their information on thousands of records and accounts, they were unusual because not all cases of lost or stolen personal information is even noticed by companies, let alone reported by them. These companies suggest that you get credit monitoring; however, they don't often offer to help you pay for that. To quote Barack Obama (who was talking about something else), "you're on your own".

If you have ever considered purchasing Identity Theft protection, I have discovered a company that offers what I consider to be the best Identity Theft prevention and protection available. They really go the extra mile! Click on the banner below to find out more information about a fantastic Identity Theft product that will impress you!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Hands-Free Device For Mobile Notaries in California

If you are a Mobile Notary in California like I am, you already know that on July 1st, 2008, a law went into effect that made it illegal to hold a phone handset up to your ear while driving your car. You will get a ticket if you get caught by the authorities. Before this law went into effect, I bought this amazing device called the MOTOROKR. It cost me less that $100 (cheaper than at Circuit City, where it was $129.95). This thing works really good. Click on the link here and see it at amazon.com, where they have a great price on it!