SALT LAKE CITY –A “fraud alert” from the Utah Department of Health. Representatives say they’ve received reports of fraudulent “mask exemption cards” which are being presented to businesses and schools, and they’re warning people not to fall for them.
Department officials say they’ve heard about people photocopying these cards for a while, but ever since the statewide mask mandate was lifted, arguments about mask requirements have grown more intense.
Spokesperson Jenny Johnson says, “We just felt like it was time to let people know these are fake and they don’t carry any weight.”
At first glance, the cards look legit. They have legal-looking statutes written on one side along with a QR code, plus the Utah State Seal on the front, supposedly signed by the UDOH executive director.
She says, “They’ve obviously, inappropriately, used the state of Utah seal and have taken the signature of Richard Saunders off of another document and made a fake card.”
FRAUD ALERT. We’ve received reports of individuals reproducing and presenting these mask exemption cards with the state of Utah seal on them to businesses and schools. These are FAKE. The state of Utah, UDOH, and local health depts do NOT provide mask exemption cards. 1/2 pic.twitter.com/GQzbgW34eD
— Utah Dept. of Health (@UtahDepOfHealth) April 13, 2021
Johnson says absolutely no state agency or local health board is giving out these kinds of cards, adding that government agencies don’t have the authority to decide if someone should wear a mask, or not.
“Those decisions are made by an individual and their health care provider, typically, in determining whether an individual can safely wear a mask or not,” Johnson says. “That is not something that we decide.”
Students are allowed to ask their schools for a mask exemption if they have a doctor’s note, and Johnson says the guidelines about mask exceptions are written out in the state’s plan.
“It’s pretty broad, but we don’t give out cards,” she says.
Officials from the Utah Attorney General’s Office say forging government documents and forging the signature of a government worker are serious offenses.
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