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Notary Bulletin

Can I Take Photos Of A Signer's ID?

I have been instructed to take photos of a borrower’s IDs with my cell phone for a loan document signing. Is this legal?T.P., Illinois

There may be federal or state personal information and privacy laws in play here that govern the collection, storage, and dissemination of personal information that could put you at risk. Most lenders and larger title companies do not want Notaries to take pictures of signer IDs due to the privacy risks. You should know your obligations and rights before accepting an assignment from a company that asks you to take pictures of borrowers’ IDs.

Hotline answers are based on the laws in the state where the question originated and may not reflect the laws of other states. If in doubt, always refer to your own state statutes. – The Editors

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16 Comments

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Lisa Ackerson

11 May 2020

I don't have a comment but can't read the article without submitting this form for some reason

National Notary Association

11 May 2020

Hello. If you are experiencing problems viewing a Bulletin article, please email us at social@nationalnotary.org with a description of the issue, the device and browser you are using and we will be happy to try and assist you in resolving the issue.

Pallavi Shah

11 May 2020

Do i need RON notary certification in Illinois?

National Notary Association

11 May 2020

Hello. Please see here for Illinois emergency remote notarization guidelines: https://www.nationalnotary.org/notary-bulletin/blog/2020/03/states-emergency-action-remote-notarization

Pallavi Shah

11 May 2020

do i need RON notary certificate in Illinois?

National Notary Association

11 May 2020

Hello. Please see here for Illinois emergency remote notarization guidelines: https://www.nationalnotary.org/notary-bulletin/blog/2020/03/states-emergency-action-remote-notarization

Barbara Ann Patton

11 May 2020

What is this?

Artur

11 May 2020

Sometimes your answers are so broad that they do not actually answer question being asked. Please be more specific in your answers.

Richard Jackson

16 Feb 2021

What do you do if the lender asks for a "copy" of the signors identification? Do you take a photo on your phone and print a copy when you get back to the office?

National Notary Association

10 Mar 2021

A Notary Signing Agent should not take a photo of an ID in order to send it to the lender. This is not a secure means of transmission. If the signers wish to take picture of their ID and text it to the lender, they are free to do so. Additionally, the Notary Signing Agent can ask the signers to make photocopies of their ID prior to meeting, and the copies can be returned with the rest of the completed loan package.

June

25 Feb 2021

So then, should we assume it's not legal to take a photo of the ID?

National Notary Association

26 Feb 2021

Hello. Because Notary laws are different in every state, and in some cases Signing Agent assignments may be affected by specific federal laws depending on the loan documents involved, we strongly recommend against making blanket assumptions for all situations. What is appropriate for one notarization may not be the case in a different state or if a different document is involved. Again, if you have a question about a specific state or situation that is not answered above, please feel free to post here and we will do our best to answer it for you.

June

25 Feb 2021

I'm very often frustrated by these short articles that don't seem to address the question in the title. Is it illegal, then, to take a photo of an ID? In my course, I was told we are never allowed to do that.

National Notary Association

26 Feb 2021

Hello. Hotline answers are based on the laws in the state where the question originated and may not reflect the laws of other states. Also, in some situations it is not always possible to provide a more specific answer due to limited information provided by the Notary answering the question, and we also must be careful to avoid providing unauthorized legal advice. However, if you have a more specific question, please feel free to post it here and we will do our best to provide you with an answer.

Fredy

11 Apr 2021

Hello. I am in california and just got my commission filed. So I understand we should not take ID pictures with our cellphones, but what about a mobile notary which could have a copy machine hooked up in the car. Is he allowed to make a photocopy then and attach it to the paperwork ?

National Notary Association

13 Apr 2021

Hello. You are correct: pictures of ID cards should not be taken with your phone or any sort of camera. Additionally, such an image should be sent via text (or email). The typical practice is to make a paper copy of the ID and send it back with the document once the signing has been completed.

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