Eye on Scams: Don’t fall for fake ‘mask exemption’ cards offers


LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY)- A scam warning there are mask exemption cards circulating online claiming to be a part of the Department of Justice.

The United States Department of Justice is issuing a warning regarding those who may see a card or flyer stating that the owner is exempt from wearing face masks.

The information was not issued or endorsed by the DOJ.
“With people being required to wear masks, there are people on both sides of the fence,” Chris Babin, with the Better Business Bureau of Acadiana, said.

“Some that support wearing a mask and some that don’t. This agency, Freedom to Breathe Agency, as they call themselves, was started and they are distributing what’s called mask exemption cards claiming to be part of the Department of Justice and part of the American Disabilities Act, when in reality, consumers are signing up for this exemption card and probably giving a lot of personal information to that agency.”

A card circulating online by a group calling themselves the Freedom to Breathe Agency, claiming the holder is lawfully exempt from wearing a mask endorsed by the American with Disabilities Act— is fake.
“You can find their website that they’ve created online and they have a way where you can download the card. You just have to give them a certain amount of financial information to download it and in return, we think it could be a scam,” explained Babin. “We think it could be something that people are opening themselves up to some type of identity theft or some type of financial fraud.”

The card threatens that if questions are asked, financial penalties of up to $75,000 or higher can be charged.
An official alert from the DOJ and the American with Disabilities Act states that they are not the distributors nor endorse the information on these cards being distributed by the group.

“As far as we know, there are no valid exemption cards. Of course, there may be some medical doctors or medical reasons that those types of things are issued,” added Babin

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the wearing of a face mask when going out in public as a way to slow the spread of COVID-19. The CDC has several tips regarding ways to stay healthy and safe:

  • For the most up to date information on rules regarding face masks in your area, check with your local government website. 
  • Be wary of claims circulating on social media. 
  • Talk to your personal health professional about protecting yourself against the virus.
  • The CDC recommends washing your hands often and avoiding close contact with others.

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