• Hugo Enriquez

5 Tips For Authenticating A Signer’s ID For Notarization

Updated 6-17-19. A Notary's primary duty is to authenticate identification before witnessing a signature. Follow these helpful tips for proper verification of identity.   

1. Always ask to physically hold and examine the ID.

In order to ensure the ID is satisfactory, you will need to physically examine it. When a signer presents identification, ask that it be handed to you so you can look at and touch any details and security features to confirm they are genuine.  Don’t simply glance at a driver’s license or ID card in the window of a signer’s wallet, as this leaves you unable to check the ID card’s security features (see below).

2. Make sure the ID meets your state’s Notary law requirements.

While examining the ID, make sure that it includes all required information under your state’s laws. For example, California statute provides a specific list of ID types California Notaries may accept and requires an ID to be current or issued in the past five years. Florida requires any ID on Florida's list of acceptable identification to be current or issued within the past five years, and the ID must also bear a serial or another identifying number. For most notarizations, Texasrequires a signer’s ID to be issued by the U.S. federal government or a state government, and include a photo and signature. However, Texas Notaries may accept a current foreign passport as ID if the notarization involves a deed or other instrument related to a real estate transaction.

3. Familiarize yourself with security features on common IDs for your state.

It’s a good professional practice to know the security features on IDs commonly used in your state and check to be sure they appear on the ID. Again, using California as an example, state driver’s licenses include features such as a raised printing of the signature and date of birth you can feel by running a finger over the surface of the card. Other security features may include holographic images, patterns or hidden details that only show up when held up to a light. An ID reference guide such as the 2019 NNA Keesing Documentchecker Guide can help familiarize you with what to look for when checking ID security features.

4. If something doesn’t match, look for other discrepancies.

If a picture or description on an ID is out of date, it’s possible the signer has simply changed their hair color, lost weight, or been ill recently — but it may also mean the signer is an impostor. If you are uncertain, follow any statutory guidelines first. For example, Pennsylvania’s lawsspecifically allow Notaries to refuse to perform an act if the Notary is not satisfied with the signer’s signature or appearance matches what is on the ID.

However, if you are in a state where the law doesn’t provide clear guidance, check if there is more than one discrepancy. For example, is the signer’s hair color not matching the photo the only difference? Or does their height and weight not appear to match the information listed on the ID as well? If you feel there is reasonable doubt the signer’s identity is legitimate, then it is better to stop the notarization until the signer can produce another satisfactory form of ID.

5. Should you record ID information in your journal entry?

If your state laws require you to record information about an ID in your journal, you should do so. But should you also record additional information on the ID not required by law? This is a tough judgment call. On the one hand, a more detailed entry will help law enforcement if the journal entry is needed to investigate the notarization at a later date. However, Notaries also have a responsibility to respect a signer’s privacy. These factors need to be weighed carefully before recording information from an ID in your journal.

Also remember that some states may prohibit recording certain details in a journal such as Texas and Montana, which require Notaries to record how a signer was identified but do not allow recording the serial number of any identification documents presented.


https://www.nationalnotary.org/notary-bulletin/blog/2017/05/five-tips-authenticating-signer-id?utm_campaign=bulletin20190624&utm_medium=email&utm_source=nnabulletin&utm_content=BodyTitleIDTipsCA&content_type=2&position=3&NNAID=160358450

































































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Copyright Hugo Enriquez Mobile Notary Public