NY Cracks Down on Dishonest Notaries

Notary publics not attorneys

Notary publics not attorneys

State officials in New York are trying to crack down on notary publics who scam immigrants by portraying themselves as attorneys.

New legislation will forbid notaries from claiming to be attorneys, legal experts, or immigration specialists. This legislation is specifically geared to notaries who make such claims in foreign language advertisements.

In their ads, notaries who are not attorneys will be required to add a disclaimer stating that they are not licensed to practice law, and therefore cannot give legal advice or accept payments for legal advice.

The scam came about because in some languages, the term for “notary public” implies that the individual is also an attorney, which is not actually the case. Scammers would charge immigrants extra fees to prepare legal documents, which they were not under the law permitted to do.

The new penalties for notaries who make these false claims include $1000 fines and license suspension.