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Notary Survey: Employees Performing Webcam Notarizations At Bosses’ Request

Notary Survey: Employees Performing Webcam Notarizations At Bosses’ Request

Only six states have passed laws allowing notarizations to be performed via webcam, but that isn’t stopping Notaries elsewhere from the practice. And they are doing so at the request of their employers, according to a recent survey.

The online survey was conducted by the Colorado Secretary of State’s Remote Notarization Working Group, which queried all 81,981 Notaries in the state. They received responses from 14,250 Notaries, or 17.4 percent of the total.

Many Notaries Get Online Notarization Requests

More than 12 percent of the respondents said they have been asked to perform an online notarization in the past year, and nearly half of those were asked three or more times.

Significantly, 257 of those who were asked to perform a webcam notarization did so, even though current Colorado law requires signers to be in the physical presence of the Notary when performing a notarization. Most of those who notarized a signature using a webcam said they did so at the request of their employers.

With webcam or online notarization, the Notary and signer do not have to be in each other’s physical presence at the time of the notarization. The personal appearance requirement is satisfied using audio-video technology via the internet. To date, only Virginia, Texas, Montana, Florida, Nevada and Ohio have enacted laws allowing webcam notarization in any form.

While the survey was conducted in Colorado, the sample size is so large that the results likely paint an accurate picture for the state.

“Because more than 250 Colorado Notaries admitted to notarizing signatures online, we wonder how many Notaries in other states across the nation have performed webcam notarizations at the behest of their employers without the legal authority to do so,” said Bill Anderson, NNA Vice President of Governmental Affairs.

Notaries Split Over Webcam Notarization

The survey results also highlighted mixed views about webcam notarizations:

  • 53% said they have no concerns about performing webcam notarizations, while 28% did have concerns;
  • 49% favored allowing online notarizations, but 29% did not;
  • 46% are interested in offering online notarizations; and
  • 68% said there should be limits on how webcam notarizations can be used.

The top concerns mentioned were how to properly identify signers, assess signers’ willingness and awareness, and protect against hacking.

Some of the respondents who said they had no concerns noted that they would only perform webcam notarizations for existing clients.

Michael Lewis is Managing Editor of member publications for the National Notary Association.

Additional Resources:

Model eNotarization Act of 2017

View All: Notary News


Add your comment

David Lane

28 Aug 2017

While there are logistical and safety benefits to online notarizations, the documents we are required to view to prove the identity of the other person are easily faked when only viewed by a low resolution webcam. Until and unless there is a more secure method of document verification, I will not be conducting any notarizations via webcam, even though I am theoretically allowed to as a Virginia notary.

Catherine Ostrom

28 Aug 2017

How can so many not have concerns when the practice is illegal? How does the signer sign their journal? These notaries are breaking the law. Are they afraid to tell their employer "no"?


28 Aug 2017

Online notarizations will leads to the next melt down, no doubt in my mind. This totally undermines a notaries function in society.


28 Aug 2017

How do you fingerprint in a notary by webcam?

11 Sep 2017

I was selling Real Estate during the S&L hay day that had all the crooked deals. Not even 8 years ago a mortgage company loan officer, tittle company owner/attorney, Realtor, and several buyers went to prison for crooked deals. If it's that easy sitting in front of a live person how much easier is this going to be? I see crooked deals all over different industries.

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