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Latest News

Notaries performing marriages in Ohio?

Notaries can currently perform marriage ceremonies in Maine, South Carolina, Florida, and most recently, Nevada. With the sweeping changes around the country regarding marriage laws, we are thinking that since notaries are already sworn officers of the state, we would be a natural fit to provide an easily accessible resource that would not require a courthouse location or any faith-based restrictions. OSN welcomes your thoughts as we discuss how (or if) to approach the legislature in 2015 with this significant addition to our Ohio notary duties. 

Send OSN your notary horror stories!

OSN is compiling examples of notary errors, incompetence, and outright fraudulent use of a notary commission to support our notary reform efforts to the legislature. Any examples you have witnessed or are aware of, please send to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

YES!! Ohio officially BANS webcam notarizations!

Ohio has joined the growing number of states that have banned webcam notarizations. The Ohio Attorney General issued a consumer alert that webcam notarizations do not neet the standard of physical personal appearance, and such notarizations are invalid in Ohio.

OSN has been on top of this issue since it surfaced, and provided documentation to state officials that this procedure should not be permitted.

Virginia legislature OKs no-appearance notarizations(!)

Under the heading of "What were they thinking??", Virginia has enacted legislation that permits notarizations as described above, without the signer physically appearing before the notary. This opens the door for potentially rampant fraud in the Commonwealth, so we'll keep following this story and hope no other states think it's a good idea.

President rejects notary bill

President Obama refused to sign the Interstate Recognition of Notaries Act, which had fairly sailed through Congress with little discussion. It had been widely criticized as helping to make foreclosures easier for banks, and many in the notary community were also concerned that some aspects of the electronic notarization process might permit circumvention of the personal apperance requirement, a cardinal tenet of notary practice. In the current climate of new disclosures involving improper foreclosure procedures by several lenders, the Bill was sent back to Capitol Hill for further review.

Landmark notary case overturned by Illinois Supreme Court 

The case of Vancura v. Katris involved an employee notary who notarized what turned out to be a fraudulent signature on a real estate document. The appellate court had held that employers were responsible not only for the actions of their staff notaries, but for also ensuring they were properly trained. The Illinois Supreme court reversed the decision, and effectively put the burden of competency back upon individual notaries. Are you listening, Ohio?

OSN receives tax-exempt status

The Ohio Society of Notaries has been granted tax-exempt status by the IRS as a 501(c)(6) not-for profit corporation.

Spreading the word about OSN

We attended the National Notary Association Conference in Chicago June 14-17. OSN is now also a member of the Notary Public Administrators section of the National Association of Secretaries of State, and I attended their annual meeting in Providence, RI, in July. This group discussed various aspects of the proposed Model Notary Act, which will hopefully complement our notary reform efforts in Ohio.

E&O Insurance now available!

Every notary should protect themselves against potential liability resulting from notary errors.

As a member benefit, OSN members can now acquire Errors and Omissions Insurance coverage through our partnership with the Pennsylvania Association of Notaries. Click on the E&O tab of our homepage for information.

OSN Partners with Paralegals

OSN has become a Sustaining Member of the Paralegals Association of Central Ohio. OSN will also contribute a regular notary feature to their newslewtter.

Since many paralegals are also notaries, this is a natural partnership that will be beneficial to all. OSN looks forward to being involved with this group.

OSN presents successful Notary Seminars!

OSN President Roger Rill presented "Beyond the Stamp: Your Role, Responsibilities, and Risks as an Ohio Notary Public"This seminar was sponsored by the Ohio Bankers League, and attendees were very enthusiastic about the knowledge they came away with. Beyond the Stamp has also been presented to the Association of Ohio Senior Citizens Centers, Ohio Independent Title Agents Association, police departments, and several library systems around the state. The class has been the Notary Law standard for the Ohio State Bar Association for several years.

OSN provides the BEST, most comprehensive Ohio notary training in the state, bar none, and will come to your office or other location around Ohio. Course content can be viewed on the "Notary Training" tab. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call (614) 336-7878 for more information.

Warning to Ohio Notaries!!

There have been efforts made to utilize Ohio notaries in a loan-modification scam, wherein the notary is asked to visit a customers home, then collect application forms and postdated checks to send back to the company. These tactics differ from legitimate loan modifications in that large checks are being collected up front, and there are no notarizations involved; the notary is utilized as a courier to seemingly lend legitimacy. A primary company doing these calls is 21st Century Legal Services, also known as East Coast Management, and as FidelityNational Legal Services (not to be confused with the genuine Fidelity National). The Ohio Attorney General has filed suit against 21st Century for their deceptive and illegal practices, so if you are called, just say NO! Again, legitimate loan modifications do not involve picking up applications or postdated large upfront checks, and there is almost always a notarization necessary.

Another Caution!

Some Ohio notaries have been contacted requesting their assistance in executing "notary protests". While there is a definition of this in the Ohio statutes, it is very rarely used. These callers seek to utlize notaries as part of a tax-evasion or debt-cancelling scenario involving the UCC codes, that requires notaries to exceed the scope and intent of their authority. Again, just say NO. and refer the person to a bank or financial institution having familiarity with the Uniform Commercial Code.