The Hawaiʻi Attorney General is calling on residents of Lahaina and Kula, who were affected by recent fires, to report any unsolicited offers they receive regarding their properties. The Sixth Emergency Proclamation Relating to Wildfires, issued by Governor Josh Green, makes it a crime for individuals to intentionally make unsolicited offers to purchase or acquire interests in real property located in these areas. Offenders can face imprisonment, fines, or both. The Attorney General is determined to investigate and hold accountable those who prey on vulnerable individuals affected by the tragedy. If you receive an unwanted offer, it is crucial to refrain from sharing personal information and report the incident to the Department of the Attorney General.
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Residents in Lahaina and Kula, located in the ZIP codes 96761, 96767, and 96790, have been receiving unsolicited offers to purchase their properties. These offers are being made without any prior request or consent from the property owners. It has become a concerning issue for the community, as people are being targeted with unwanted attempts to acquire their properties.
The Sixth Emergency Proclamation Relating to Wildfires
To address this problem, Hawaiʻi Governor Josh Green issued the Sixth Emergency Proclamation Relating to Wildfires. This proclamation declares that it is a crime for anyone to intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly make unsolicited offers to purchase or acquire any interest in real property located within the areas covered by the ZIP codes mentioned above.
Applicable areas and ZIP codes
The areas covered by this emergency proclamation are specifically centered around the ZIP codes 96761, 96767, and 96790 on the island of Maui. It aims to protect property owners in Lahaina and Kula, where residents have been targeted with unsolicited offers.
Intent and knowledge
For someone to be charged with the crime outlined in the emergency proclamation, they must have the intent, knowledge, or recklessness to make an unsolicited offer to a property owner within the affected areas. This provision ensures that those who make deliberate attempts to acquire properties without consent can be held accountable for their actions.
Affirmative defense for unaffected property owners
The emergency proclamation also includes an affirmative defense for property owners who were not impacted by the wildfires. If a property owner can prove that they were not affected by the current wildfire emergency, they may be able to present this as a defense against any charges related to unsolicited property purchase offers.
Individuals who are found guilty of the crime outlined in the emergency proclamation may face penalties that include imprisonment for up to one year, fines of up to $5,000, or a combination of both. These penalties serve as a deterrent and reflect the seriousness of preying on vulnerable individuals who have already been affected by the recent tragedies in the area.
Attorney General’s statement
Hawaiʻi Attorney General Anne Lopez issued a statement condemning the unsolicited property purchase offers and stating her commitment to investigating and holding the perpetrators accountable for their actions. Lopez described these offers as despicable acts of preying on the vulnerable, and assured the public that the Department of the Attorney General would take all necessary measures to address and prevent such criminal activity.
Actions to take
If you receive an unsolicited offer to purchase or acquire your property in one of the affected ZIP codes, it is important to take certain actions to protect yourself and ensure that the incident is reported appropriately.
Response to unsolicited offers
First and foremost, do not provide the caller with any personal information. These unsolicited offers may be attempts to gain access to your personal and financial information. It is crucial to safeguard your personal information and refrain from sharing it with anyone you do not trust or have not initiated contact with.
Protecting personal information
By not disclosing personal information, you reduce the risk of falling victim to identity theft or other fraudulent activities. Keep your personal information secure and only share it with trusted parties, such as authorized real estate professionals or government agencies.
Avoid engaging with the caller
If you receive an unsolicited offer, it is best to avoid engaging with the caller. Simply hang up the phone and refrain from responding to any further attempts at contact. By disengaging, you minimize the potential for manipulation or coercion to convince you to take action against your best interests.
Do not provide personal information
It cannot be stressed enough that you should never provide personal information, such as your Social Security number, bank account details, or any other sensitive information, to anyone who contacts you with an unsolicited offer. Protecting your personal information is essential in preventing identity theft and other fraudulent activities.
Hang up and call 911
If you feel threatened or unsafe during a call regarding an unsolicited property offer, it is crucial to prioritize your safety. Hang up the phone immediately if you encounter any suspicious or aggressive behavior. If you believe there is an imminent danger, do not hesitate to call emergency services by dialing 911.
Report the incident
To help combat this issue and hold those responsible accountable, it is important to report any incidents of unsolicited property purchase offers. You can report the incident via email to the Department of the Attorney General at firstname.lastname@example.org. Providing details about the incident, including the date, time, and nature of the offer, can assist in the investigation and potential prosecution of the individuals involved.
Residents in Lahaina and Kula should remain vigilant and report any unsolicited property purchase offers they receive. The emergency proclamation serves to protect property owners from unscrupulous individuals attempting to take advantage of vulnerable situations. By taking appropriate actions, such as not providing personal information and reporting incidents, residents can contribute to stopping these despicable acts and keeping their community safe. The Hawaiʻi Attorney General’s commitment to investigating and holding perpetrators accountable provides reassurance to the affected residents that measures are being taken to address this issue effectively.