Notary Bulletin

Oregon, Ohio Declare Webcam Notarizations Unacceptable

Ohio and Oregon have joined a growing number of states declaring remote webcam notarizations are not permitted and that a signer’s physical appearance before a Notary is required for all notarial acts.

Both states published alerts online warning Notaries that signers must appear in person before a Notary in order to have documents lawfully notarized.

The July 25 scam alert posted on Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine’s blog warns consumers to avoid businesses offering web-based notarizations or webcam technology instead of physical or personal appearance by a signer. “Appearance with a Notary Public via webcam does not meet the requirements for a valid notarization under Ohio law,” the warning states.

Another alert posted on Oregon Secretary of State Kate Brown’s site warns that a video image or other form of non-physical representation does not meet personal appearance requirements before a Notary under current state or federal laws. The alert cautions Oregon Notaries that participating in webcam notarizations could lead to possible administrative, criminal or civil penalties.

“Oregon Notaries Public are not authorized under current law to perform electronic notarizations,” the alert states. “Even if they were, Oregon law requires a person to appear personally before a Notary Public to obtain notarial acts like acknowledgments or oaths.”

A growing number of U.S. states and territories — including New Jersey, Colorado, Nevada, Rhode Island, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, the Northern Marianas and California — have issued similar alerts against using webcams for notarial acts in recent weeks.

In April, North Carolina Secretary of State Elaine Marshall published a newspaper article that described the importance of personal appearance in the notarial act.

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