What To Do If Your Notary Seal Or Journal Goes Missing

A lost Notary stamp or journal can be used to create fraudulent documents. If your seal or Notary journal is stolen or goes missing, you need to take immediate action.

Report Lost Notary Tools

Report lost or stolen Notary tools to your local police department as soon as possible, and retain a photocopy of the report. Unless officials know someone has taken your tools, you could potentially be blamed if another person uses them to commit fraud.

You should also report any missing tools to your state’s Notary regulating agency as soon as possible — in California and Florida this is required by state law. Florida requires a lost seal to be reported to the Department of State in writing. California requires a lost, misplaced, stolen, destroyed or damaged journal notification to include the Notary’s commission number, expiration date, the time period covered by the journal and a photocopy of any relevant police report.

California Notaries must report a lost, misplaced, stolen, destroyed or damaged seal, too. Negligently failing to notify the Secretary of State of a lost seal could result in a hefty fine; willful failure to report a lost journal could result in the Notary’s commission being suspended or revoked.

Texas instructs Notaries whose seals or journals are lost to send a letter to the Secretary of State's office detailing the circumstances in which the materials went missing, the last time the Notary used them, and any other relevant information. If the Notary's tools were stolen, Texas Notaries are instructed to file a police report and enclose a copy of the report with the letter sent to the Secretary of State's office.

Replacing A Lost Notary Seal Or Lost Notary Journal

Once you’ve reported your tools missing, you should replace them as soon as possible. If your seal was lost or stolen, be sure to follow all steps required by your state if you need to replace it. Nevada requires its Notaries to file a new Certificate of Appointment and request a replacement seal within 10 days after a seal is lost. Washington requires a replacement to differ in some way from the seal that was lost or stolen — for example, the new seal may feature a different border around the seal impression. If you need to change the format of a replacement seal, contact your state Notary regulating agency to confirm

what type of change is acceptable.

Preventing Loss Of Your Notary Tools

Replacing your journal or seal can be frustrating. While it’s not a foolproof solution, taking steps to protect your seal and journal now can go a long way toward keeping them safe. Never leave your seal and journal unattended, don’t leave them visible in your vehicle, and store them in a locked and secured area when they aren’t being used. A pinch of prevention is definitely better than a pound of cure when it comes to keeping your tools safe.

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