Did you ask me to commit fraud? I’m a Notary!
Jackie Woods-Jefferson is a Notary, loan signing agent, and an instructor here at Notary Public Seminars. She also owns a successful loan signing agency and is one of our favorite experts!
As a Notary, one of the first things Notary Public Seminars teaches you is that your fundamental role is to prevent fraud. I’m sure we shared some of the same thoughts as we sat in our 6-hour training or 3-hour refresher course. Thoughts such as, “No one would ever ask me to commit fraud by falsifying documents or attest to something I know to be untrue, right?” The only scenario I could imagine happening was a friend asking me to stretch the truth a little, but not a complete stranger. To my amazement, I was asked to commit fraud this month by someone unknown to me.
I was assigned a DMV Signing appointment that did not require any documents to be notarized. My only responsibility was to ensure that the vehicle started and verify the mileage and vehicle identification number. I was also responsible for listing any damage not previously stated by the signer. Upon arriving at the appointment, I greeted the signer and informed her of the process. I inquired where the vehicle was parked to begin verifying the items on the vehicle checklist. She said she was not told the vehicle needed to be present for verification. This was a huge red flag as every signer is notified prior to scheduling an appointment that the vehicle must be present for verification. I wanted to complete my assignment so I asked when the vehicle would be available. She told me that her son had the vehicle about an hour away and she had no idea what day or time he would be returning. I informed her that I needed to notify the signing company and I did so immediately. Following the call, she asked me if I could just say that I saw the vehicle. I replied, “I am not able to complete the document or this transaction without the vehicle being present.”
Never in a million years did I think someone would ask me to falsify documents on their behalf. As a professional who cares deeply about her reputation, I knew I could not compromise my ethics and code of conduct. From this experience, I learned to always be prepared and stick to what I know is right because there will, on occasion, be instances when my commitment to upholding notary laws and ethics will be challenged.
Got a story you’d like to share? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org and it could be featured as our next Notary interest piece!