Your responsibilities as a notary public in the State of Florida are intimately connected to your ability to guarantee the security of your stamp.
As a notary, your stamped seal provides an unparalleled assurance of validity and trust. The responsibility you bear as a notary carries the expectation that your stamp is accounted for at all times and has never been misused.
You need to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that your stamp and seal are protected against theft, loss, fraud, or improper use.
So today, we’re discussing the best strategies for keeping your stamp safe and accounted for at all times. These tips are critical knowledge for new notaries and necessary review material for seasoned veterans.
- How to protect and store your notary stamp
- How to avoid misuse of your notary stamp
- How to dispose of and replace your notary stamp
1 - Keep Your Stamp in Locked Storage
Your notary stamp must be stored as a precious valuable—similar to expensive jewelry or a bundle of cash. In other words, even if a robbery were to occur in the room where your stamp is stored, the stamp should be unreachable.
At all times, your stamp should either be with you or safely locked away. Use a safe or a locked desk drawer, and don’t share access with anyone else.
2 - Attach a Name Tag to Your Stamp
Despite your best efforts, your notary stamp may, one day, become lost. It might slip out of your travel bag or be misplaced during a busy day; or it could be left behind during an emergency.
To ensure that your stamp can be returned to your possession if you lose it, tag your stamp with a permanently-attached name card.
On your stamp’s tag, include your name, contact info, and a brief message communicating the importance of promptly returning the item to its owner.
3 - Never Leave Your Notary Stamp Unattended
Your notary stamp should never be left exposed and unattended. Even in your own home, even among trusted colleagues, and even when only stepping out of the room for a brief moment, keep your stamp with you or locked up at all times.
Remember, it only takes a few seconds to commit notary fraud. Or someone who doesn’t understand restrictions regarding notary stamp use, such as a child, a customer, or a coworker, may unintentionally misuse the stamp.
Your diligent protection of your stamp might feel like overkill at times, but it’s wise to establish extra-strict habits rather than risk a single security breach.
4 - Never Delegate Use of Your Notary Stamp to Others
Your notary commission grants notary privileges to you and you alone. Never allow anyone else to use your stamp on your behalf. Delegating the use of your stamp is unethical and illegal.
Even if you become a notary to provide a service for an employer, your notary privileges belong strictly to you as an individual. Your coworkers may never perform notarial acts on your behalf. Your employer has no right to control, use, or keep your stamp, even if they paid for its purchase.
Also, keep in mind that coworkers and customers may not possess your knowledge of stamp use restrictions. Even among individuals who would never intentionally commit fraud, accidental misuse can occur.
5 - Purchase a Notary Bond and a Notary Errors and Omissions Insurance Policy
There are two standard policy types that notaries purchase to protect themselves and the people they serve: a notary bond and a notary errors and omissions insurance policy.
Notary bonds are in the amount of $7,500 but cost less than $50. Notary insurance is also quite inexpensive. Policies run for four-year terms, with even the strongest policies costing under $300.
These policies are part of the short list of steps taken by first-time and renewing notaries.
Here are the actions you’ll complete to become a Florida notary:
- Pay mandatory state filing fees
- Purchase a mandatory notary bond
- Complete a Florida notary education course
- Purchase a notary errors and omissions insurance policy (optional)
- Purchase a notary stamp and seal
It might sound like a lot, but the total expense is typically under $300. The notary education requirement calls for just three hours of training time to help you understand your notary public duties and obligations.
A bond is required by the state of Florida, while notary insurance is only recommended.
|Policy||Required By The State Of Florida?||Protected Party|
|Notary Bond||Yes||Members of the public served by a notary public|
|Notary Errors and Omissions Insurance||No||The notary public|
Purchasing an insurance policy is a wise step for any notary. The notary bond that’s required of all Florida notaries is intended to protect the public, not the notary. Therefore, a notary errors and omissions insurance policy is a notary’s strongest defense against lawsuits.
While a notary insurance policy is not a means of physical protection for your stamp, it’s a powerful safeguard against wrongdoings or legal complications in the event that your stamp is misused or involved in a dispute.
6 - Destroy or Return Your Stamp and Seal When Your Commission Ends
When your notary public commission ends, take the time to properly dispose of your stamp. Simply throwing the stamp in the trash isn’t sufficient. Instead, follow these steps:
- Remove the rubber seal-bearing strip from the bottom of the stamp
- Use scissors to cut the rubber into several pieces
- Throw away the destroyed rubber pieces
- If possible, recycle or reuse the ink cartridge and stamp body
Alternatively, you can return your old stamp to the Florida Department of State.
Keep in mind that your Florida notary commission does not transfer to any other state. As a public officer for the state of Florida, you must officially resign your commission if you move out of state.
7 - Review Florida Notary Laws and Rule Changes on a Regular Basis
Finally, one of the best security measures you can take as a notary public is to stay up to date on any changes taking place within the notary profession. Keep up with regulatory updates and technological trends that could impact your work.
We recommend these sources for Florida notaries:
The Pro Stamps blog is another informative source of tips and buying guides for any professionals who use rubber stamps.
How to Order Your New Florida Notary Stamp
Whether you’re new to the role or you’re a long-time notary public, stamp security is always of the utmost concern.
Of course, securing your stamp is easier when your tool is reliable and long-lasting. The less often your stamp needs replacing, the better.
At Pro Stamps, our self-inking stamps come with dust caps for clean and easy storage. Our Trodat brand stamps are good for 5,000 impressions, allowing for years of consistent use between replacements.
Choose your Florida notary stamps and seals from these formats:
- 1 ⅝” round
- ⅞” round
- 2 ⅜” rectangular
All self-inking stamp purchases come with a free digital proof that you’ll receive via email within 24 hours of your purchase.
Our notary stamps are made in the USA and come with a lifetime warranty. We offer free shipping via the United States Postal Service (USPS) first class package service.