Oklahoma and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands have become the most recent state and U.S. territory to announce that webcam notarizations are unacceptable.
According to Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt’s website, the Oklahoma warning was issued “after consumers in several states reported being contacted by an electronic notarization service provider. The provider claimed their service could provide an online Notary via webcam that bypassed the need to appear in person to receive notification.” Attorney General Pruitt reminded Oklahomans that documents must be notarized “in person” by a Notary with a valid state commission number.
Northern Marianas’ Office of the Attorney General issued a similar warning, alerting consumers of “misleading information” and “false claims” being offered by online notarization companies. The warning emphasized Northern Marianas’ law requiring that the signing party “must be physically present before the Notary Public.”
Oklahoma and the Northern Marianas join a growing list of states and U.S. territories that have officially declared webcam notarizations unacceptable. Secretaries of State in Nevada, Rhode Island, Wisconsin, and California have all issued similar alerts.
The full text of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt’s alert follows:
Online Notaries are illegal in Oklahoma
OKLAHOMA CITY – Attorney General Scott Pruitt’s Public Protection Unit Wednesday cautioned Oklahomans not to use online notarization services.
Pruitt issued the warning after consumers in several states reported being contacted by an electronic notarization service provider. The provider claimed their service could provide an online Notary via webcam that bypassed the need to appear in person to receive notarization.
“Online Notaries are illegal and should not be used by Oklahoma consumers,” Pruitt said. “A document must be notarized in person by a Notary Public with a valid state commission number.”
The function of a Notary Public is to act as an official witness to the identity of a person who comes before the Notary. A Notary is authorized to witness or attest a signature, administer an oath or affirmation, certify an oath or affirmation, take acknowledgments and certify or attest a copy.