Live 5 Scambusters: Federal agencies issue new warnings for scams involving masks, contact tracing

Updated: Jul. 2, 2020 at 12:43 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission have put out new warnings about coronavirus scams involving masks and contact tracing.

The federal agencies have debunked a card that supposedly offers exemption to someone who doesn’t want to follow mask ordinances. The Freedom to Breathe Agency or FTBA created the face mask exempt card to share on social media. It features an emblem that appears to be the Department of Justice seal.

The card claims the holder has a disability preventing them from wearing a mask and it’s illegal for a business to ask them to disclose their condition under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The card even includes the ADA information hotline. The ADA has also denounced the card.

The FTC and DOJ also issued guidance to differentiate contact tracers from scammers in an effort to clear up any confusion. Scammers have corrupted the COVID-19 prevention effort by trying to get more than just your name, address, and recent contacts.

The FTC has a few easy ways to spot the scammers and avoid them.

  • Don’t pay a contact tracer.
  • Don't give out your social security number or other personal information.
  • Don't share your immigration status.
  • Don’t click on any links in text messages or emails claiming to be from a contact tracer.

If you are contacted by a legitimate tracer but still feel uncomfortable, you can contact the Department of Health and Environmental Control directly at 803-898-3432.

If you have a scam story to share, email Kyle Jordan at

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