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BBB warns 'mask exempt' cards are fake

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- 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, according to a news release from the Wisconsin Better Business Bureau. The information was not issued or endorsed by the DOJ.

According to the news release, a card circulating online by a group calling themselves the Freedom to Breathe Agency is claiming the holder is lawfully exempt from wearing a mask endorsed by the American with Disabilities Act. Health experts and the DOJ state it is not valid and urge the public not to believe the claim that wearing a mask will incur mental or physical risk, as described by the exemption card being distributed online.

The information also claims the Americans with Disabilities Act forbids asking about the cardholder's health condition aggravated by wearing a mask, according to the BBB. The card threatens that if questions are asked, financial penalties of up to $75,000 or higher can be levied. 

BBB officials say ADA is real, but the cards have no legitimacy. 

"The cards talk about the ADS, The American With Disability Act, which is a real thing and of course there are people that do have physical issues wearing a mask, but this card itself has no legal standing. It’s a complete scam. Business owners don’t have to pay attention to it,” Better Business Bureau Serving Wisconsin President CEO Jim Temmer said.

There is no need to report the scam, the BBB says. It's just important for business owners to know the cards are not issued by the federal government. 

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