Health

These “Face Mask Exempt” Cards Are A Scam, DOJ Warns

An example image of the fake ID cards includes an emblem from the “Freedom to Breathe Agency,” which the DOJ says is not a government agency.

Department of Justice/ An example of one of the fake cards

Identification cards that claim to exempt people from wearing face masks are fake, the Department of Justice warned in a statement. The cards have been circulating online during the coronavirus pandemic.

The statement urged people to be aware of fraudulent postings and identification and that include the Department of Justice’s seal and claim to exempt individuals from wearing a face mask under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

“These postings, cards, and flyers were not issued by the Department of Justice and are not endorsed by the Department,” the statement, released on June 25, warned. 

An example image of a fraudulent identification card includes an emblem in the corner with the text “Freedom to Breathe Agency.”

The cards also include language such as: “Wearing a face mask poses a mental and/or physical risk to me. Under the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) I am not required to disclose my condition to you,” according to the DOJ.

“These cards do not carry the force of law,” Matthew G.T. Martin, the U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of North Carolina, said in the DOJ’s statement. “The ‘Freedom to Breathe Agency,’ or ‘FTBA,’ is not a government agency.”

Martin also urged the public not to rely on information from the fake postings and flyers, and to instead visit ADA’s website.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended since April that people wear cloth face coverings when they are around others or going out in public to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. But in some businesses, employees have been met with violence after asking customers to comply with a face mask policy.

Several states have mandated the use of face masks out in public, including Massachusetts, New York, and New Mexico. In New York, businesses can also deny entry to people who aren’t wearing face masks.