Last Call for 3.24.22 — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics

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A digest of the day's politics and policy while the bartender refreshes your drink.

Last Call — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics.

First Shot

If you want to donate to humanitarian efforts in Ukraine, GoFundMe shouldn’t be the first place you go.

While many of the fundraising campaigns on the site were launched in earnest, Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis warned Floridians on Thursday that there are scads of scammers leveraging the crisis to make a quick buck.

“As we’ve seen after disasters, crowdfunding sites like GoFundMe are riddled with fraud. With nearly 1,400 Ukraine relief fundraisers currently on GoFundMe alone, consumers should beware before giving. Many good people worldwide want to donate to Ukraine relief efforts, which creates an opportunity for cyber thieves. Unfortunately, we see this all the time in Florida following hurricanes and disasters like the tragic Surfside condo collapse,” Patronis said.

“Tragedy brings out the best in some and the worst in others. Consumers must be on the lookout for ‘GoFundMe’ style crowdfunding charity sites that anyone can easily set up a fake fundraiser for any cause. Always do your research and only give to reputable charity groups and crowdfunding campaigns that you have verified. Stay on guard online and don’t let your donation go into the pocket of a scam artist.”

Patronis’ office issued a tip list to help Floridians do their due diligence. The first step: check to see if there’s a comment section. It might be a scam if the organizers aren’t fielding questions about spending the funding or how much will go directly to support efforts.

Another telltale sign is charity names slightly off from well-known legitimate charities, so read the organizer’s name closely. Patronis’ office also recommends donating via credit card rather than wire transfers or apps such as Venmo, which have fewer fraud protections.

Finally, navigate over to the BBB’s Wise Giving Alliance and run a quick search on their Check-A-Charity tool. If the organization doesn’t show up, consider it a red flag.

Evening Reads

Fentanyl test strips could reduce overdoses, deaths. Florida Legislature said no to legalizing them” via Anthony Man of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Military mystery: Who stole tons of valuable ammunition brass from Army’s top helicopter gun range? Feds focus on Florida man” via Julia Cooper of Fresh Take Florida

Charlotte Airport Authority Commissioner arrested for faking election documents” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics

Joe Biden can’t paper over the West’s disunity” via Tom McTague of The Atlantic

A girl and her hamster: Half of Ukraine’s children flee war” via Cara Anna of The Associated Press

Fed up with deadly propaganda, some Russian journalists quit” via Anton Troianovski of The New York Times

Personal finance tips won’t help Americans truly cope with inflation” via Helaine Olen of The Washington Post

DEP’s language for protecting Florida springs copies what doesn’t work” via Craig Pittman of the Florida Phoenix

‘We’re back at square one.’ Spring Break curfew evokes Miami Beach history on Black visitors” via C. Isaiah Smalls II of the Miami Herald

Officials: Florida manatees eat ‘every scrap’ in food trial” via Curt Anderson of The Associated Press

Quote of the Day

“We don’t agonize. We organize.”

— U.S. Rep. Val Demings, on challenging U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio.

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