The Notary Public And Fraud Prevention
Notary publics perform important fraud-deterrent public services. By utilizing these services, citizens are taking extra precautions against various types of fraud and protecting their own interests.
The Public Trust
Notaries are people of proven character and integrity who are appointed by the states to act as impartial witnesses to the signing of important documents and transactions, as well as administer oaths, affirmations and acknowledgements. Once appointed, they become public officials whose impartiality is crucial to their role.
By acting as an official, unbiased and impartial witness, a public trust in these public servants is created. This trust is the basis for fraud-prevention and deterrence. Citizens can rest assured that the notary will do everything in his or her power to ensure the documents they are signing or the transaction requiring notarization is legitimate and fraud is not being committed.
Notaries are very effective at preventing identity fraud, forgery, misrepresentations and scams. A notary ensures the integrity of the transaction in many ways but simply requiring notarization is an effective way to deter fraud.
Notaries are successful at fraud deterrence because of the requirements that must be met in order for something to be notarized. First, the law requires the signer to sign the document in front of the notary. Notarization will not be made unless the signer makes a personal appearance when signing.
Secondly, the signer must provide legal state or federally issued identification when signing. This makes it harder for imposters to try to get a phony document notarized. The notary also verifies that the signer understands what he or she is signing and that it is being done of their own free will and not under duress. This helps prevent forced transactions from taking place.
Notaries also check the documents thoroughly before they are signed to ensure they are complete and not partially blank. This ensures the signer isnít blindly signing a paper that can then be used for any purpose. As a final measure of protection, a notary is required to record each and every transaction that they notarize in a notarial journal. This journal then becomes part of the public record and serves as a paper trail in the event an act of fraud was attempted or did occur.
One specific example of when the average person might use a notary is during a real estate closing transaction. Between the closing documents, escrow account, issuance of title insurance and other important legal documents, it is critical to have an impartial third-party assisting in the transaction.
All of these safeguards combined with a public trust in notaries help ensure transactions are valid. In times when dealing with strangers is more the norm than not, requiring notarization for certain parts of the transaction provides a level of protection against fraud that would not otherwise exist.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Title Junction, a Cape Coral title insurance agency, serves clients throughout Florida and Fort Myers. Notary and Cape Coral escrow services are some of many services offered by this real estate title agency.