Expert Advice: How Financial Institutions And Their Notaries Can Protect Themselves Against Fraud

Notaries often serve at the frontline of fraud prevention for financial institutions. The Financial & Corporate Services Section spoke with Allan Bachman, the Education Manager at the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, who has over 35 years of experience in audit, forensic accounting, and fraud examination, about what companies and Notaries can do to detect, prevent, and report fraud in their workplace.

What advice do you offer Notaries with regards to detecting fraudulent IDs?
Education is the best fraud protection. Notaries have a very limited time in which to look at the ID and verify its validity, which can make the Notary feel a lot of pressure. Notaries should be aware of what the different state licenses look like, and companies should take the time to train their Notary-employees on the telltale signs of fakes. If something looks wrong, or it appears to have been tampered with, you could try asking the person their birth date; if they hesitate, you know something probably isn’t right. You’d rather be safe and keep your commission as a Notary than run a risk and agree to perform an act you aren’t comfortable with.

What should a Notary do if they suspect or detect fraud occurring in the workplace?
Many organizations have a third party hotline for reporting fraud. In fact, whistle blower programs are now mandated by law for many public companies. You should also bring the issue to your manager’s attention. Don’t look away if you have a suspicion; report it. Most fraud these days is uncovered by whistleblowers. They have a lot less stigma than they used to, and they’re often rewarded by their companies for their efforts to prevent fraud.

Non-Members: The complete transcript of this interview — as well as additional in-depth coverage of issues related to Notaries working within the Financial and Corporate Services industries — is available exclusively to NNA Section Members. Find out how to become a Section Member.

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