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Document fraud is part of cyber criminality that leads to identity fraud. Identity fraud affects more than 9 million people every year.

If you sign your signature on important documents, notarization is something you need to be familiar with.

Notarizing helps protect important documents and keep criminals from using your good name. A notary ensures all parties provide legal, state-issued identification before signing documents. This blocks someone else from pretending to be you.

All signatures are original on notarized papers. Noone can present photocopied signatures for important paperwork with your name on it.

Notarization is the best way to prevent fraud by ensuring a document is authentic. Learn how notarization works and why it’s important here.

What Is Notarization?

Notarization is the process of having a notary public authenticate signatures. These are signatures required on important documents.

Notary publics are public commissioned officials acting on behalf of the government. Their job is to witness signatures signed to legally-binding paperwork. The notary stamps of a notary public give the document legal weight, certifying its authenticity.

For a document to pass notarization it must have the following:

1. Proper Identity Verification

Notaries first check identities before allowing any signatures. Any person signing the document must provide valid photo identification.

2. Prepared Signers

Being coerced to sign legal documents in any fashion is illegal. Notaries have an obligation to make sure all signers aren’t experiencing coercion. Nobody else is forcing them to sign documents they aren’t willing to sign.

Signers must be of a sound mind as well. They cannot express or exhibit any natural inability to understand what they’re signing. This included inebriated, medicated, or mentally unstable individuals.

A notary has the right to refuse validation is signers to meet qualifications for notarizing.

How to Get a Document Notarized

There are common types of documents that require a notary’s signature—wills, trusts, POA, and such.

Sometimes individuals have these documents in hand and must lockdown a notary on their own. Othertimes, banks or courts have notaries on board for fraud prevention measures. In this case, signers have to show up at a location to sign in.

The basic process of getting a document signed works like this:

  • Visit a local notary
  • Provide proper identification
  • Answers questions
  • Sign your document
  • Transport or mail the notarized document where it needs to go

Most notaries charge a small fee upfront. Most times the fee is no more than $25.

Where to Find a Notary

Finding a notary is as simple as typing “I need a notary” in Google. Search engines are smart enough to bring back results close to you if you have your GPS locator on.

If you don’t like Google, walk into a local bank, FedEx, UPS, or check cashing store to find a notary there.

Protect Your Signature

Notarization keeps your name safe. Before you sign another legal document, make you have a proper witness. Hire a notary.

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