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Do You Give Your Digital Signature To Your Appraisal Co.?

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Dee Ann Casey

Thread Starter
Sophomore Member
Joined
May 29, 2002
I recently started doing contract work for an appraisal company. Everything was just fine until they asked me to get a digital signature and give them my password. (I have been out of the appraisal business for a few years and just started working as a state licensed appraiser. When I did appraisals a few years ago there was no such thing as a digital signature and all reports were signed with a pen and paper.) They said they would pay for the the signature and take it out of my first paycheck but that they needed my password to review my reports. I told them I didn't feel comfortable giving out my password and that since I would be working out of their office for the next few months anyway that I would be there to sign the report, and also that I only live 2 miles away and can come in to the office anytime if there are any changes needed. Apparently these suggestion's were not good enough for them and now they are not giving me any more work. They basically demanded my password or else. They said they do not do business with any fee appraiser unless they have access to their password. Further more, when they reviewed one of my reports and we both decided to make changes they were irritated when I wanted to do a final review of my report that they had already printed. I just did not feel comfortable giving my password to a company that has already pressured me not to review my own report just because they already printed it prematurely.

Do you give out your digital signature to your appraisal company even though all of the liability is on you? Is this common in the business?

Please post your reponses and let me know what your opinion and experiences have been on this topic!
 

larryhaskell

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 23, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Nevada
Not only NO, but hell NO. And get rid of this client before they cost you your license.
 
Joined
Jan 13, 2002
Professional Status
Retired Appraiser
State
Florida
Absolutely NOT!!!

It sounds like they are scam artists and I would get as far away from them as possible. Immediately.

I'm very sorry that you are going through this and hope you find someone else that is honest and ethical to work for.
 

Jeff Horton

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Alabama
I second the not no but HELL no!!
 

rtubbs

Junior Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
I would say that what they're doing borders on fraud. I would assume that there are appraisers working for the AMC and I wouldn't hesitate a minute about reporting them to the state appraisers board.
 

Rick Neighbors

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 19, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Texas
You do not need these people's business! They just want to be able to change your reports and make you still be responsible. You might as well let them do the appraisals and just sign them.
I would report them to the "authorities" asap!!!
 

George Hatch

Elite Member
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
California
Dee Ann,

Have they given you a legitimate reason to have your signature? If not, then why do they want it? As you know, there is no legitimate reason. It appears that they want to be able to change your reports with or without your cooperation and consent. A really cynical person (which describes the average appraiser) would also guess that such a signature could be used as a 'supervisor' signature for a trainee, a 'ghost' signature for unlicensed appraisal activity, a 'patsy' signature for number-hitting assignments, and all manner of illegal and unethical behavior. The only reason they could possibly have that would make any sense (and yet still be unethical and illegal) is that they want to be able to make minor typo corrections in your absence. Like the final conclusion of value, for instance.

You obviously understand your liability when it comes to your signature. If you did supply them with the signature and it got misused, you would have little or no defense. The state would simply assume, and rightfully so, that you either did the work yourself or allowed them to do it with your name.

If these guys are on such a short leash that their response times to appraisal conditions are too short to use the real thing, then you should possibly consider whether you want to wear the same leash. You are known by the company you keep. If they'll dork your signature without your knowledge, consent or presence, who knows what else they'll do?

It is a violation of USPAP to not properly control your signature, and probably a violation of state appraisal regulations as well. Depending on where you are, your state board would be very interested in your employers' behavior. In my state (Calif.), the state board revokes appraisal licenses for this violation on a regular basis. It is conduct that would get them, and you, booted off of every ethical lenders list in a heartbeat. In short, there is no good reason to do it and every reason not to. Stick to your guns.

George Hatch
 

Richard Carlsen

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Licensed Appraiser
State
Michigan
Tell them you will give then your password if they will let you write checks on the company account.

That should be fair.

Bet their reaction will be <span style='color:red'>"Hell No!"</span>
 

Tim Hicks (Texas)

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Texas
NO WAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 

graindart

Junior Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Montana
I agree with not giving them your password for your digital signature, but doubt that it really matters. Anyone with a scanner and a hard copy of any appraisal you've ever done can have your signature to use whenever and however they'd like. The defense of your appraiser's license is not in your digital signature's password.......it's in your workfile, where you're required to keep a copy of the appraisal report you made. A word of advice, I'd make sure that you keep a workfile of every appraisal you've done at your own residence. I'll bet that they require the file to remain at their offices, and if they're willing to do something dishonest with the client's copy, they'd be stupid not to do the same thing to the copy in the workfile, so if you don't have your own workfile with the actual appraisal you completed, than it's just your word against theirs (with them holding all the "evidence").
 
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