Notary seal forgery - what is the threat and how to protect yourself
A huge number of fraudulent schemes are accompanied by the use of false documents. Unfortunately, there are cases when criminals forge the fake notary stamp. Today's article explains how it happens, what the consequences are and, most importantly, how to protect yourself from such attacks.
The introduction of electronic document management based on the Unified Information System has sharply reduced the number of document forgery crimes. All Russian notaries have access to the UIS, which allows them to verify the authenticity of any notarized document. Various state agencies are also able to make an online request to establish the fact of document forgery.
Ordinary users can check certain documents, such as powers of attorney, on the website of the Federal Chamber of Notaries. Hundreds of thousands of Russians use this opportunity every year. Also on the portal are placed various registers, such as inheritance cases. In 2021 on the site of INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE appeared the service of check of notarial documents on QR-code.
But the digital mechanism to protect notarial data has only appeared in the last 10 years, so fake notary stamp online with an earlier date of document continue to pop up periodically. Of course, they are investigated accordingly. Many scammers know where to buy notary stamp without a legal right.
How to protect yourself from fakes?
Using the above services allows you to identify most of the forgeries. But fraudsters also adapt to innovations and develop more and more cunning schemes.
The most current examples of notary stamp replacement are:
- A fake QR code verification site. When using the phone scanner, a similar web-resource opens, which supposedly confirms that the fake one is valid. Certainly, it is difficult for ordinary citizens, who face this situation for the first time, to notice a trick. To avoid this, it is recommended to visit the official site of the internal revenue service and to press the button "Check the QR code on the notary images free" there. This will allow getting really reliable information.
- Inconsistency in the content of the document. There are cases when swindlers change the data in the existing documents. For example, there was a power of attorney to drive a car and became a power of attorney for its sale. In this case, the document verification service will show that such a power of attorney does exist, but there is no information about the document's content in public registries. Only a notary can see it. Therefore, a visit to a notary's office is the surest way to make sure that the document is not fake. The notary can easily identify a fake notary stamp generator on a document because no unauthorized person can add or change the data in the Notary Public's Unified Information System. Also it’s important to know the difference between Trodat and Cosco notary stamp.
- Completely false documents when executing transactions in the MFC. The safety of such transactions can be reduced to zero if the sale is not by the person owning the property himself, but by power of attorney. In this case, the buyer is better to splurge on a notary, so he can confirm that the power of attorney is not fake. Otherwise, it can be fraught with the risk of losing both the property and the money.
Scammers always know where to buy a notary stamp. It can be difficult to visually distinguish a genuine document from a fake one. Usually the words and style of such documents do not meet the standards of notarial acts. But only notaries themselves usually notice it.
Liability of a notary
If the document turned out to be false due to the fault of the fake notary online, he bears full property liability. If his erroneous actions caused damage, the notary's mandatory professional liability insurance, his personal property and the Compensation Fund of the Federal Chamber of Notaries guarantee compensation. Citizens and legal entities can expect to be compensated in full.
Notaries almost regularly report to law enforcement agencies about attempts to conduct transactions using documents with notary business name generator. After all, their primary job is to ensure that civil transactions are legal.
About the notary's seal
The notary must use a seal with an image of a double-headed eagle. It can only be made by a special certified company in accordance with GOST, which provides for requisites and a multi-stage degree of protection. Such strict requirements were introduced just a few years ago, before notary stamp maker could be used by almost anyone who wanted to. Most frauds used free notary images download web-sites. Seals of the old type could differ significantly in content and size. With the introduction of the new procedure, the number of counterfeit documents should decrease significantly.
How can you tell if a seal is fake?
Attackers use the most sophisticated methods to produce fake seals. The variety of printing equipment and coloring pigments that exists today, unfortunately, works in the hands of fraudsters who plan to carry out illegal actions with the help of fake documents. Today, there are three main ways to counterfeit seals that experts can identify.
Counterfeiting with Photoshop and other special programs;
- manual forgery;
- violation of the sequence of details and fonts on the seal imprint.
In order to reveal the features of a forged document one should pay attention to the characteristics of a stamp: its text, size of the double-headed eagle, placement of text and graphic elements, evenness of ink pigment distribution on paper.
What is the threat of the notary stamp forgery?
Forging stamps and seals for the purpose of material gain implies criminal liability under the Article of the Criminal Code. Responsibility comes from the age of 16 and can face up to 4 years in prison.
Thus, measures to prevent fraudulent use of a forged notary's seal, are tightened. Nevertheless, perpetrators are finding more and more ways to commit the crime. It is important to remain vigilant and follow the recommendations we described in our article.
Date of publication 2022-12-27