BBB issues warning about fake face mask exemption card

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — The Better Business Bureau is now warning consumers that a card posing as a face mask exemption is full of lies.

At a quick glance, the card has a Department of Justice seal, a warning from the Americans with Disabilities Act and the promise of a fine for denying access to the non-mask wearer. But the problem is it’s fake.

“We are alerting consumers to please don’t give into this, don’t buy them online. You’re exposing yourself to be a victim of identity theft,” said BBB Sacramento spokeswoman Alma Galvan.

Galvan told FOX40 the cards have been advertised online for about $50 and that by purchasing the laminated document, someone could lose much more than cash.

“Keep in mind that when you’re ordering this, what the scam artists are after is your personal information, along with banking information,” Galvan explained.

On closer inspection, the card has misspellings such as an extra “s” in “poses,” along with using the wrong name for the ADA.

Even though some may think the “Freedom to Breathe Agency” sounds like a legitimate organization, the DOJ says it’s not.

Dr. Priti Golechha, the associate chief medical officer for Golden Valley Health Centers, said there are people who do have legitimate medical exemptions to not wear masks.

“Like, if there was a newborn baby, babies which are less than 2 years of age should not be wearing masks,” Dr. Golechha told FOX40.

But she said for the majority of people, coupled with social distancing and hand-washing, face coverings are the first line of defense against COVID-19. 

“It doesn’t block your oxygen supply, it doesn’t block your carbon dioxide exchange, it just blocks those droplets coming out of your mouth,” she explained.

The BBB says if you do encounter ads for the cards, it’s best to take a screenshot and send them to the Federal Trade Commission and the BBB so they may document and investigate further. The scam can also be reported to the BBB website.

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