BRIDGEPORT, W.Va (WDTV) – There are some groups of people excluded from West Virginia’s mandatory mask order. Now a group online is targeting those people, trying to sell them something that proves they don’t have to wear a mask.
It’s a scam.
“This is completely false. It’s untrue,” said Amanda Tietze, Vice President of Operation for the Better Business Bureau serving the Canton Region and Greater West Virginia.
The cards distributed by a group called the Freedom to Breathe Agency.
While the group has the cards available to print out online, the Better Business Bureau is warning they could target your wallet.
They say the cards are circulating for sale online. For $50, you can get 500 cards.
“The Department of Justice and Americans with Disabilities Act have claimed that there are no such valid cards out there,” Tietze said. “By purchasing these cards, you’re basically just wasting your money.”
Some of the cards have the Department of Justice’s seal on them, prompting the federal agency to issue an alert about the posts on social media.
“It’s just a group of individuals that believe that it’s there constitutional right to not have to wear a mask and anyone requiring them to do so is violating their constitutional rights,” Tietze said. “Everybody wants to believe something. We just really want to tell consumers to exercise extreme caution. When reading things online, thoroughly do your research before you make purchases like this.”
Under West Virginia’s mask order, people with breathing problems or who can’t wear a mask without help are already exempt.
There are no measures currently in place in the state to enforce the governor’s mask mandate.
The card warns of penalties for making someone wear a mask, including a fine ranging from $75,000 to $150,000.
It also says denying access to a business if someone won’t wear a mask is a Civil Rights Act violation.
But civil is spelled wrong on the card currently available on the group’s website.
The Department of Justice says it does not endorse the information on the cards.
“We just really want to tell consumers to exercise extreme caution,” Tietze said. “When reading things online, thoroughly do your research before you make purchases like this.”
It’s not the only mask scam out there. The BBB also sees companies claiming to sell masks that don’t live up to the descriptions.
It says a majority of COVID-19 scams are related to masks.
“In reality, none of us enjoy wearing masks,” Tietze said. “Any excuse, or what seems to be a valid excuse to not wear one, I could see how consumers could easily fall for something like this.”
Anyone can report a scam on the Better Business Bureau’s website and also track scams reported in your area.
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