Once you receive a document that was notarized via remote online notarization there are few important tokens to look for:
- The document must be signed with the unique digital certificate of the notary who conducted the online notarization session
- The document must not be modified after the notarization session
- The document must include a note that the notarization was performed online
Checking the Digital Certificate
Notary Digital Certificate means a digital representation of the notary signature. It is issued by a verified provider and implies that the provider verified the notary’s identity. Additionally, the notary submitted the exact same certificate to the Secretary of State when applying for an online notary commission. Basically, a notary digital certificate is a safety measure the law takes to protect the notarized document.
The signer identity validity is guaranteed by the certificate issuer. It often comes with a matching root certificate from the certificate provider. It may already be included in the list of trusted certificates by Adobe Reader, or you may need to install it.
If you see a yellow warning sign on the blue ribbon in Adobe Reader, you may need to download an open root certificate from the provider so your Adobe Reader can complete the check. Please see instructions for the most common digital certificate provider:
The easiest way to verify the notary digital certificate is to open the document in Adobe Acrobat Reader and check the certificate details in the Signature Panel. Here are the steps:
- Open the notarized document in Adobe Acrobat Reader (download link)
- You will see a blue ribbon across the top of the document. The text on the ribbon will tell you if the document is signed and if the notary signature (AKA Digital Certificate) is valid. Here is an Adobe signature validation quick key with the details.
- To check notary details on the signature, click the “Signature Panel” button on the blue ribbon to the right.
- When the Signature Panel opens, you’ll see the name of the person who sealed the document. It must be the name of the notary who ran the notarization session.
- You can also click the Certificate Detail button to check for more details like the certificate owner, the certificate issuer, intended use - must include Digital Signature and Non-Repudiation, the certificate validity dates.
It is crucial that the document was not modified since notarization. If it was modified post notarization, you’ll see a red x symbol. This means the document is invalid due to tampering.
Online Notarization Note
The notary should include a note next to the notary seal that the document was notarized online. There is a placeholder in the text tool (labeled RON) in the OneNotary toolbox. Notaries can quickly insert this text on every online notarization by clicking on the tool.