notary stamping notary stamping

How to Verify a Notarized Document Online?

Online notarization has become the norm in recent times. State governments across the country realized the importance of permitting remote notarization when the coronavirus pandemic broke out. Although things have returned to normal and business is, as usual, online notarization is here to stay. There are many benefits of online notarization such as convenience and cost savings.

Now, if you have received a notarized document online after a remote notarization, you might want to check to confirm if it has been authenticated or not. You should check for the following tokens to ensure that the notarization is complete.

  • You should receive a unique digital certificate with the document of the notary who had carried out the remote notarization.
  • There should be a note with the document that mentions that the notarization has been conducted online.
  • Once the notarization has been complete, the document should not be altered in any way.
notary signing papers

Inspect the Digital Certificate

When you receive a notary digital certificate, it indicates that the notary has signed the document digitally. A verified provider must issue the document to prove that the identity of the notary has been verified. In addition to this, the secretary of state should have a copy of this certificate as the notary would have provided it when applying to become an online notary.

The truth is that notary digital certificates act as a safety measure as they help protect notarized documents. The issuer of the certificate guarantees that the identity of the signer is valid. There is also a matching root certificate which is issued by the certificate provider. It might be included with the trusted certificate or you can simply download it to your device. The Adobe Reader on your device should check the open root certificate once you install it. You will need to go through the instructions of the digital certificate provider.

All you need to do to verify the notary digital certificate is to check the Signature Panel to inspect the certificate details in Adobe Reader. The following steps help break down the steps that you should have no trouble following.

  • Head over to Adobe Reader and open the document.
  • There should be a blue ribbon at the top part of the document and the text would indicate if the signature of the notary is valid and if it has been signed. You can review Adobe signature validation to ensure that you know what to look for.
  • Select the Signature Panel to review the notary details. You will find it on the blue ribbon on your right side.
  • After the Signature Panel has opened, you will come across the name of the individual who had sealed the document. Make sure that the name is that of the notary as it was the notary who handled the notarization session. To determine if the document had been altered, there should be no entry from the date of the online notarization.
  • It is also a good idea to check the Certificate Detail option for more details such as the intended use, the issuer of the certificate, the owner of the certificate, non-repudiation, digital signature, and the validity dates.

Here’s a YouTube Demonstration of how to check your certificate!

Altered Documents

Now, you must ensure that the document has not been altered after it was notarized. In case you think that it has been modified, there should be an “x” symbol in red as it would indicate that the document is not valid and has been tampered with.

Notarization Note

Another thing that you need to look out for is the online notarization note. The notary must leave a note right next to the seal to prove that the document has been notarized over the Internet. Notaries have to insert the text for each online notarization document by using the text tool. You should be able to identify this without much effort.


Once you have finished reading our post, you will know how to verify a notarized document online. It is important that you immediately check your notarized document to find out if it has been tampered with or not. In case your document is modified, you will need to take action as it would not be considered valid. You can do this by reaching out to the remote notarization service provider or the secretary of state. It is best that you choose a reliable online notary service like Blue Notary to stay on the safe side. Otherwise, you can opt for an in-person notarization. However, it is not easy to find a notary on your own.

General Questions About Notarized Documents Online

1. What are the legal repercussions of altering a notarized document?

Altering a notarized document constitutes fraud and forgery, leading to severe consequences, including fines and imprisonment, depending on jurisdiction and intent. Civil suits may also follow, seeking damages for losses resulting from the fraudulent document.

2. How can one verify a notary’s legitimacy beyond the digital certificate?

Verifying a notary’s legitimacy extends beyond digital certificates. Check their credentials and standing with the state through online databases or regulatory bodies. Ensure active commissions and absence of complaints or sanctions, crucial for notarization validity.

3. What steps to take if a notarized document fails online verification?

If a notarized document fails online verification, contact the notary or service provider for clarification or re-verification. If unresolved or fraud is suspected, contact the secretary of state or regulatory body, filing a formal complaint and providing relevant documents. They can investigate, take disciplinary action if needed, and guide on rectification or valid notarization. Legal consultation may be necessary for further recourse or legal action.

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