Consumer Advocate

Sign up for newsletters and other news
Media > Newsletters > Consumer Advocate > July 2011 > Scam alert: online notarization

Consumer Advocate RSS feeds

Scam alert: online notarization


“Online webcam notarization” is invalid in Ohio, but at least one company is claiming to provide a web-based notary service to consumers throughout the U.S.

Under Ohio law, if you need to get a document notarized to verify your signature on the document, you must be physically present with the notary public at the time you sign the document.

If you are not physically present (in person) with the notary public at the time of signing, the notarization is invalid and the document itself may become invalid.

To avoid online notary scams, be wary of companies or organizations that:

  • Advertise web-based notary services
  • Ask you to submit copies of identification and documents for notarization through their websites
  • Claim to provide webcam technology in lieu of physical or personal appearance before a notary public
  • Offer free online notary services, including to military members and their families 

Virginia has enacted a law that takes effect in July 2012 which will allow Virginia notaries to notarize a document even if the signer is not physically present with the notary public, as long as there is enough evidence to prove the signer’s identity. One way to provide this evidence is through online webcam technology.

However, the law in Ohio has not changed. Appearance with a notary public via webcam does not meet the requirements for a valid notarization under Ohio law. In other words, online notarization still is not valid in Ohio, and Ohioans should beware of companies that claim otherwise.

For questions about notarization, contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office or the Ohio Secretary of State.


Report a scam to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office

File a consumer complaint

Request a free consumer awareness workshop

Sign up to receive the Consumer Advocate e-newsletter