SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) – Fake mask exemption I.D. cards are going viral, and South Carolina’s Emergency Management has confirmed they are fake.
The mask mandate is meant to slow the spread of the coronavirus during this pandemic.
The cards circulating online look real, with U.S. Department of Justice written on it and even a medical decal.
Officials said someone is always looking to make a quick buck during times of crisis, so it’s important to always remain alert and to ask questions.
“There are no avenues for someone to get some sort of exemption for not wearing a mask. It’s just not something that’s available to anyone,” SCEM Public Information Coordinator Brandon LaVorgna said.
COVID-19 touched LeQuaun Sullivans family, and his mother-in-law recently got over it. He said he is concerned that fake cards will encourage people not to wear masks, but knows the rest of his family is protected because of them.
“Everybody should wear a mask, I don’t care about the cards or nothing like that because it keeps everybody else safe. You might not want to be safe, but it keeps the people around you safe,” Sullivan said.
Officials admit the cards could fool you if you’re uninformed. Some of the cards have a disclaimer that reads in part, “Wearing a face mask poses 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.”
Facemasks are mandatory in federal buildings and in businesses across South Carolina. To date, there are no medical exemptions issued on behalf of the ADA, the state or federal government.
Officials are doing their part to keep the public informed.
“Scams are cyclical. I’m sure we’ll see another one show up soon, targeting pandemic people in some shape or form. The last one we just sent out the other week was regarding people trying to sell their spots in line to get a vaccine,” LaVorgna said.
While the price is minimal for the fake badges, officials said you could lose so much more in the long run.
“It’s not like your missing out on $10 or $20 bucks. Your personal information is getting taken down a lot in these cases and that’s something we obviously know we need to protect,” LaVorgna said.
South Carolina Emergency Management officials advised contacting law enforcement if you see a badge like this for sale.