March 25, 2020
Heightened Fraud Awareness During Current Times

Governors in several states have recently issued Executive Orders authorizing remote online  notarizations (“RON”). We have posted information about these Executive Orders on our dedicated webpage . These Orders each include various requirements and procedures which must be complied with in order to conduct remote notarizations. 

While these Orders, and the RON procedures authorized thereby, are a welcome solution to close real estate transactions for people unable or unwilling to leave their homes, CATIC wants to remind you of considerations for our agents in utilizing these new processes.

First, each Order contains specific requirements in order to utilize RON. Examples include the location of the parties executing the documents, the sending of the documents by specified means to the notary within a particular time frame, and various methods to prove identification of the parties. As with any legislation authorizing RON, strict compliance with the procedures of the particular Executive Order applicable to your state is required and should be documented in your file.

Second, we have seen increasing fraud and criminal activity arising out of the current COVID-19 crisis. The opportunity for fraud in real estate transactions is of particular concern to agents in states which have recently authorized RON by Executive Orders containing minimal standards and requirements regarding identity proofing.

CATIC recommends to its agents that, when RON procedures are to be used, and, as authorized by state law or Executive Order, you should utilize a remote online notarization platform which includes robust identity-proofing procedures whenever possible. These procedures include checking the ID provided against state requirements and data bases, as well as requiring the party executing the document to prove their identity by answering a series of questions derived from information available in public and private data bases.  

As always, you need to be on the lookout for fraud. If you see warning signs or red flags in any transaction, please reach out to your local CATIC underwriting counsel.
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Please continue to check out our dedicated webpage for COVID-19 information and guidance, on a regular basis. We will be updating the material as we learn of new developments.