I did Not notarize that
It’s just one more thing that we have to both worry about and guard against. I am referring to forgery of our notarization. With high resolution scanners, image manipulation software and both inkjet and laser printers; cloning notarizations has become easier. Case in point: I received a PDF from Europe asking me to confirm the date of notarization. It was an obvious fraud from top to bottom with overlapping images (showing the border line where chunks were pasted) and of course it had images of my signature, stamp and seal. The person inquiring said they had the original. However, only a very faint shadow of my embossing showed. I asked if there was a raised seal embossed with my signature; and never heard from them again.
There is little that can be done to protect against signature forgery, using a cut and paste will give an exact duplicate, but only on the surface. The indentions from using a pen will not be on the back of the page. Ultimate signature security is now available in the form of DNA ink, whereby your DNA (from blood, hair, fingernail clipping, etc.) is blended into the ink. At some time in the future, using that DNA sample; it might be possible to clone you! Choose your signature carefully, and write it consistently; it should match the signature on file when you filled out the forms to become a notary.
Your notary stamp is your next line of defense. A photocopy is not the same as an ink stamp original. If you stamp clearly it’s possible for someone to go to a stamp making shop and order a duplicate stamp. Some, but not all shops will request proof of qualification. A tiny, almost invisible “flaw” added to the stamp with a razor blade goes a long way toward making your physical stamp truly unique. Of course you have to keep your stamp secure from unauthorized use. Some stamps can be bought with a little locking device, better is to keep it with you.
I consider my embossers as my ultimate anti fraud defense. Few will go through the effort to order an embosser. The embosser shops are a bit stricter on license verification. Still, it is possible for someone to order a duplicate of your embosser. But will it be an exact duplicate? Not of mine, I have taken the precaution to create a tiny “flaw” with the subtle use of a file. While the embossing remains perfectly readable, a crime lab will certainly be able to detect the difference. It continues to amaze me how frequently I see notarizations that do not include embossing. If I sign it, I emboss it, always.
The old expression “The absence of evidence, is not evidence of absence” refers to your journal. The fact that you do not have an entry is not proof that you did not do the notarization. Unless you plan ahead for questions being asked of you in a courtroom; you might wind up with big troubles. Is your signature on this page, is your stamp on this page, did you emboss this? Will you be ready and able to contest a forgery? Some simple procedures can assist in the court arriving at the truth.
Unfortunately, your E&O probably will not be with you. You did not make an error or an omission. You are defending your notary commission and probably a lot of your money. Our signature, stamp and (hopefully) embossing are handed, literally; to whoever will pay for them. Most folks are honest, but if you notarize frequently, the odds of being forged increase greatly.