Reporting a Lost Notary Journal or Stamp
Under Colorado notary law CRS 24-21-519(8) a notary must report a stolen or lost notary journal to the Secretary of State in writing within thirty days after discovering that the journal is lost or stolen.
CRS 24-21-518(2) requires a notary to report a stolen or lost notary stamp to the Secretary of State in writing within thirty days after discovering that the stamp is lost or stolen.
If a former employer keeps a notary’s journal or stamp without permission, the notary may also report the journal and stamp as lost or stolen.
Include your phone number in your notary journal and on your notary stamp so a finder can contact you to return a lost item.
Online Reporting of Lost Notary Journal or Stamp
To report a stolen or lost notary journal or stamp, the notary may log in to their SOS notary account using their notary ID and password. Then, under Actions on the account summary page, select Report loss of stamp or journal.
File a Police Report
Report a stolen or lost notary journal or stamp to your local police department promptly. Keep a copy of the police report. If you do not report the theft or loss to officials, you might be blamed if a criminal uses your notary equipment to commit fraud.
Use a Different Design on New Notary Stamp
Purchase a replacement notary stamp with a different font style, ink color, or border design. Make a note in the notary journal that the previous notary stamp was reported lost or stolen to the SOS and police and the date that the new stamp was placed in service.
If the old stamp impression shows up on a document dated after you started using the new stamp, you will have evidence that the old stamp was used by a criminal.
Wrongful Possession of Notary Journal or Seal
CRS 24-21-533 makes it a misdemeanor crime for a person to unlawfully possess and use a notary journal, seal, or electronic signature on any papers, copies, or electronic records relating to notarial acts.
Duty to Keep Notary Journal and Stamp Secure
Under Colorado notary law CRS 24-21-519(4) a notary is responsible for the security of the notary journal. A notary public shall keep the notary journal in a secure area under the exclusive control of the notary, and shall not allow any other notary to use the journal.
The notary journal may be kept in a tangible, permanent, bound register with numbered pages, or it may be kept in electronic format, in a permanent, tamper-evident electronic format complying with the rules of the secretary of state.
CRS 24-21-518(1) requires a notary to be responsible for the security of the notary stamp. A notary public may not allow another person to use the stamp. When a stamp will no longer be used, the notary shall destroy the stamp or disable it and make it unusable.
Notary Journal Storage
Under CRS 24-21-519(1) a notary shall retain the journal for ten years after the performance of the last notarial act chronicled in the journal.
Or, the notary may transmit the notary journal to the state archives or leave it with the notary’s firm or employer, and notify the secretary of state of the journal’s location.
A notary may store notary journals in a fireproof, waterproof chest safe.
Tampering with Physical Evidence
If a notary is under pending or current official proceeding for alleged wrongdoing, the notary may not hide, remove, alter, or destroy a notary journal or records containing physical evidence to impair the proceeding.
Under Colorado Criminal Code 18-8-610, Tampering with Physical Evidence, a person commits tampering with physical evidence if, believing that an official proceeding is pending or about to be instituted and acting without legal right or authority, he:
(a) Destroys, mutilates, conceals, removes, or alters physical evidence with intent to impair its verity or availability in the pending or prospective official proceeding; or
(b) Knowingly makes, presents, or offers any false or altered physical evidence with intent that it be introduced in the pending or prospective official proceeding.
“Physical evidence”, as used in this section, includes any article, object, document, record, or other thing of physical substance; except that “physical evidence” does not include a human body, part of a human body, or human remains subject to a violation of section 18-8-610.5 .
Tampering with physical evidence is a class 6 felony.