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Panic as Hyundai, Kia owners are becoming targets of car thieves via TikTok: Report

Photo: PBKNews

*The viral video presented as ‘TikTok Challenge’ shows anyone can start and steal one of these two car brands, using only a screwdriver and a USB cable

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

A viral video on the Internet has shown viewers how to steal Hyundai and Kia cars.

It was learnt that the viral video, which has garnered millions of views on TikTok, explains to viewers how to steal cars made by Hyundai and Kia, thereby sending car owners into a panic.

The Police Departments across the United States (US), for instance, had reported a sudden rise in car thefts in recent times, agency report said.

Automotive experts also said they observed that cars that use traditional ignition keys are the vehicles that are at risk.

Gary Rome, owner of Gary Rome Hyundai in Holyoke, Massachusetts, says the video targets 2015 to 2021 Hyundais and Kias.

Rome told Western Mass News that “anything ‘22 and newer already has the immobiliser kit on there.”

According to the TikTok video, presented as a “TikTok Challenge,” anyone can start and steal one of these cars using only a screwdriver and a USB cable.

Ashley Foote of New York was one of the early victims, according to report.

Foote’s car was stolen July 2022, while she was vacationing in Missouri and before the troublesome trend was widely known.

She told WMAR-TV in Baltimore, in the US, she apparently interrupted the thieves when she briefly returned to her car to get something.

Foote further told the station: “When I got into my car, there were about five different USB cords in the car.

“So, it seemed as though they were just trying different cords.”

She also said: “That’s when we called the Kia dealership to see if there was like any tracking we could find out.”

However, when Foote returned to her car a few minutes later, it was gone!

‘Gone in 30 seconds’

Foote stated: “My car was probably taken in 30 seconds.

“There was no glass that was broken. My alarm didn’t signal.

“They did not need a key, and the KIA dealer said that it was about 60 KIAs per day that were being stolen. I had a 2019 Kia Forte.”

According to Rome, the automakers are developing immobilisers for older model Hyundais and KIAs, and they should be available at dealers by October 1, 2022.

In the meantime, owners of these vehicles have been urged to take extra precautions.

If possible, car owners are  encouraged to park their vehicles in a locked garage.

If there is no garage, cars should always be parked in a well-lit area.

One extra precaution is applying a steering wheel lock when the car is parked.

That will prevent the car from being driven away until the lock is removed and might discourage thieves, report said.

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