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DEFENDERS: Beware of mask exemption cards

COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)

Federal agencies are warning about a scam going around as many states across the country, including cities like Columbia, mandate face coverings.

The United States Department of Justice issued a warning regarding those who may see a card or flyer stating that the owner is exempt from wearing face masks. The DOJ says this information was not issued or endorsed by the department.

Several agencies including the Better Business Bureau and Federal Trade Commission are also warning people about this scam.

Some of the cards circulating online are from a group calling themselves the 'Freedom to Breathe Agency.' The group claims the holder is lawfully exempt from wearing a mask endorsed by the American with Disabilities Act. In addition, some of the cards also show a DOJ seal, making it seem legitimate.

"The Department of Justice has been made aware of postings or flyers on the internet regarding the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the use of face masks due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many of which include the Department of Justice's seal," says a statement on the DOJ's ADA webpage. "These postings were not issued by the Department and are not endorsed by the Department."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public places to help reduce the spread of the coronavirus.

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Deborah Kendrick

Deborah is a weekday morning anchor and investigative reporter for ABC 17 News.

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