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Friday, April 18, 2014

OAG cautions against online notary services

The Office of the Attorney General warned yesterday that online webcam notarization is invalid and illegal in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

A private company claims to have the first online notarization website and has sent misleading information and made false claims to CNMI notaries public concerning a new online notarization service. The web-based platform purports to allow a person to submit copies of identification over the Internet and to use a webcam in lieu of a personal appearance in front of a notary public. Appearance via webcam does not meet the requirements for notarization in the CNMI.

CNMI law requires a person to appear personally before a notary public to obtain notarial acts like acknowledgments or jurats. This means the party must be physically present before the notary public.

A video image or other form of non-physical representation is not a personal appearance in front of a notary public under current state or federal laws. The Office of the Attorney General says the technology solution offered by this private company does not comply with CNMI law. (Office of the Governor)

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