With Coronavirus cases reaching an all-time high in Florida, Miami-Dade and Broward counties are now implementing the use of face masks whenever out in public. Anyone who is seen not wearing a face mask can be issued a fine for up to $500 dollars and could be sentenced up to 180 days in jail.
In light of the face mask ordinances and enforcement, a new face mask exemption scam has emerged. In a statement made by the United States Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, any person claiming to have an exempt card or flyer from wearing face masks are fraudulent and are not officially endorsed by the U.S. Government.
Face Mask Exemption Card Scam
The face mask exemption card scam originally began to emerge through social media. The cards were reportedly produced by a group of individuals who call themselves the “Freedom to Breathe Agency.” The face mask exempt cards were sold in boxes of 500 for $49.99.
The card itself is designed with a red, white, and blue eagle logo and is approximately the size of a business card. The card reads, “Wearing a face mask possess 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.” The fraudulent card also threatens “violators”—those who would advise or force the holder of the exempt card to wear a mask—with a fine ranging from $75,000 to $150,000.
The founder of this exempt card, Lenka Koloma, used Facebook to advertise her cards, which would take interested parties to either a Shopify or Wix website for purchase. The shopping websites, Facebook group, and Facebook advertisements have since been taken down. Prior to erasing its website, the Freedom to Breathe Agency claimed to be “a movement of proud American citizens who are dedicated to protecting their freedom and liberty,” as noted by Forbes.
At Panter, Panter & Sampedro, we are focused on community safety including adhering to all ordinances and CDC guidelines to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Please feel free to call us at (305) 662-6178 or contact us at panterlaw.com for any questions or concerns regarding COVID-19 scams or claims. Stay safe!