I was pleasantly surprised to see the cover of this months THE NATIONAL NOTARY, Guarding Against Real Estate Fraud.
As a former Real Estate agent and a Real Estate Broker the part a Notary Public played in detecting and helping prevent Real Estate fraud had never occurred to me.
This article really opened my eyes as far as what a Notary Public may encounter.
The number one scam I took notice of was adult children stealing from their parents. This shouldn't surprise me as I know of such a case very well. Here is how it works.
Knudt obtains a Power Of Attorney form off of the Internet or at the office supply store. He fills it out making him POA for his aging Grandpa Al. He takes the POA to a Notary (or two until he finds a gullable one) and gives him/her a sad story that Al is in tough shape and could not come along. Could you pleaseee help me and papa Al, pleaseee? The gullible Notary notarizes the POA and Knudt is free to steal what ever he wishes under the forged POA.
This article is full of stories with some notaries being fully aware to those that were totally clueless. New York city alone reported 2,000 cases of deep fraud in a four year period that involved a "faulty" notarization. Sometime no (licensed) notary is even involved, the National Notary Association fraud team went on line and purchased a fake notary seal for just $9.99.
The article is three pages of great information about Real Estate fraud and how a good, conscience Notary can help you spot fraud. My advice to Real Estate agents is that you should trust your Notaries instincts if they think something isn't quite passing the smell test. Any time a client is in a huge hurry and wants to cut corners here and there, especially wanting to get something notarized when the signer is not available start weighing that commission against the possible legal hassle or even jail time that me be ahead for you.