What's this "notary" business Nextel are asking me to do?
October 26, 2007 7:39 AM   Subscribe

In order to deal with the mounting mess of identity theft fraud I find myself in, I need to get a bunch of stuff "notarized". What is that, does it cost money and if so how can I get it done as cheaply as possible? NYC, Upper East Side. Please help an iggerant foreigner.
posted by nowonmai to Law & Government (15 answers total)
Best answer: Your bank might provide a notary service for free. Commerce Bank does for account holders.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:42 AM on October 26, 2007 [1 favorite]

A notary public will usually witness something (like you signing a document) and then sign and stamp it.

Just do a google maps search in your area for notary public and call the businesses that come up and ask if they have a notary and what it will cost for them to notarize something.

Your bank may also have a notary and may do it for free, but if not, it shouldn't cost much. I had something notarized a few weeks ago at MailBoxes Etc., for $5.
posted by justkevin at 7:44 AM on October 26, 2007

Your basic explanation of what it is and what it costs is here.
posted by Wolfdog at 7:44 AM on October 26, 2007

My experience is the same as ThePinkSuperhero's -- some banks will do it for free for account holders. Otherwise, it tend to run 5-10 per document. You may find a notary in the administrative staff at your workplace; they are often available at Kinko's or like establishments. If any of your friends have recently bought a house, or refinanced a mortgage, they may well have leads.
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 7:45 AM on October 26, 2007

Getting something notarized generally means having a Notary Public (certified trustworthy person) witness your signing of some important document and indicate that they've done so by signing it themselves and stamping said document with a fancy little embossing tool. It's no big deal. Many banks have an officer who will do this for free for their own customers, and it's never all that expensive.
posted by jon1270 at 7:46 AM on October 26, 2007

Wikipedia has an overly-broad but still useful bit on Notary Public(s) and what they do.

Short version: it's someone licensed by the state to be a kind of official witness. You write and/or sign a document in their presence, and they authorize it as being done so. It's bureaucratic but lots of bureaucracies (passport offices etc) often require this authorization.

And yes, call your bank branch, they may have one on staff (although often only during certain hours). If not, the NYC yellow pages for Notary Public should yield lots. It's not typically very expensive, even outside a bank.
posted by nkknkk at 7:46 AM on October 26, 2007

Where do you work? Lots of firms have people on their pay-roll that are notaries.

If you don't have one where you work, and if you can't find a bank to do it for free, my girlfriend can probably do it for a much cheaper rate than you will find elsewhere. Then again, she may not be allowed to charge for it, so it might even be free. E-mail in profile, but I don't check that one TOO much, so if you need it in a rush respond here that you sent me an e-mail.
posted by Grither at 7:52 AM on October 26, 2007

Best answer: New York notaries can charge $2.00. You can find one near you using this site. Back when I lived in the Upper East Side (AKA The Land That Fun Forgot), I searched on the net (using the same or a similar site as my link) to find someone close and ended up bringing my papers to his home to get them notarized. Nice guy, and he refused to accept any more than the $2 fee.
posted by exogenous at 7:53 AM on October 26, 2007 [1 favorite]

My public library has a notary on staff at every branch, and they'll notarize stuff for free. No idea whether that's a typical library service, but it might be worth calling about.
posted by box at 7:59 AM on October 26, 2007

In New York, lawyers and paralegals are often notaries, if you know someone in either profession.
posted by backupjesus at 8:09 AM on October 26, 2007

Unless you know the notary very well, they will likely require some form of photo ID before they'll witness your signature.

(helpful hint from a NYS notary. Alas, I'm in Western NY or I'd be more than happy to help you out.)
posted by Lucinda at 8:48 AM on October 26, 2007

Ask around; you might even know a notary and not be aware of it. Heck, I'm a notary. It only costs about twenty bucks to get the license.
posted by Faint of Butt at 10:34 AM on October 26, 2007

Don't know how this applies in NYC, but my town hall has a notary, and they'll do it for free.
posted by FlyByDay at 10:46 AM on October 26, 2007

Best answer: Ask around your friends and your workplace. You'd be surprised how many people are notaries. I had this come up and my aunt of all people was a notary and I had no clue (and am not estranged in the slightest).
posted by Octoparrot at 2:28 PM on October 26, 2007

Nearly every workplace has one, because they do stuff for the company, and they usually do things for their employees as a courtesy. It's often the executive secretary, and if not, they will will know who to ask.
posted by unrepentanthippie at 4:38 PM on October 27, 2007

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