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Kia Car Thefts Trending On TikTok

TikTok has been the talk of the social media town for a variety of reasons. Chief amongst those is the is a trend using the hashtag “#KiaBoyz” that shows specific “how-to” guides on how to steal vehicles.

Although most car owners are familiar with the trend of catalytic converter thefts, many have been caught off guard by the recent spate of thefts led by the so-called Kia Boyz.

The Kia Boyz hashtag details how to steal specific vehicles with nothing more than a screwdriver and a USB cord. The hashtag has nearly 100 million views, with some videos being cautionary tales from car owners who’ve been targeted.

What Cars Are Targeted In TikTok Trend?

kia thefts on the rise due to tik tok trend

The primary makes targeted for these TikTok thefts are Kia and Hyundai vehicles. These brands are targeted because many models lack an engine immobilizer, a critical component in anti-theft defense.

An engine immobilizer utilizes a transponder with a two-code system between your car and your car’s key. They sync up to verify that the vehicle is being operated by someone with the designated key and permit the engine to turn over.

Vehicles produced by Hyundai before November 21, 2021 that used physical key ignition systems (as opposed to push-to-start) did not come with the immobilizers installed. Universal application didn’t begin until 2022, leaving many newer vehicles susceptible to the trend.

How Are Carmakers Responding To The TikTok Thefts?

Kia and Hyundai models built between 2010 and November 2021 were built without push-to-start technology or keyfobs. This requires that their engines be started with a mechanical key.

Teens armed with a USB cable, a screwdriver, and a smartphone have been able to steal these vehicles in just a few moments. Police agencies across the country have reported marked increases in thefts of these Makes in recent times due to the viral trend.

A Kia spokesperson shared with CNBC that it’s impossible to make a vehicle completely theft-proof, but the Kias in the US now include key-fobs and push-to-start systems that make them more difficult to steal.

Kia models produced in 2022 came equipped with the engine immobilizers at the beginning of the model year or as a running change, according to their spokesperson. They also continued to provide steering wheel lock devices to local law enforcement for citizens at no cost.

Hyundai spokesperson Ira Gabriel has stated that models produced after November 1, 2021, come with the immobilizers as a default. In October of 2022, the company began selling a security kit as an anti-theft device against the method of entry used in these TikTok trends at a $170 price tag.

Hyundai has recently developed a software update that activates an “ignition kill.” June 2023 it will be available to vehicle owners for free and only require an hour of installation.

Does Insurance Cover TikTok Theft?

Unfortunately, the massive spike in Kia and Hyundai thefts that the TikTok trend has caused State Farm and Progressive to halt any new policies on those vehicles. These providers feel as if the makers aren’t “doing enough” to address the issues presented by this viral trend.

In USA Today, a State Farm spokesperson said “Because theft losses for specific model years and trim levels of Hyundai and Kia vehicles have grown significantly, State Farm has temporarily halted accepting new customer applications in some areas. This significant issue affects both our clients and the broader auto insurance market.”

They continued to say “We take very seriously our duty to control risk and how excess claim expenses affect each and every one of our clients. In this situation, taking action to safeguard our policyholders and our company is imperative.”

Current Kia or Hyundai owners should review their current policies to determine if theft is covered for their particular vehicle.

What Can I Do If My Kia Has Been Stolen?

kia boyz car theft tik tok

Unfortunately, a stolen car might be gone forever. However, oftentimes, these Kias are recovered having suffered thousands of dollars worth of damage. What can you do at that point?

CarBrain specializes in buying cars that have seen better days, including your Kia. We’ll take it off your hands in whatever condition it is in and give you a fair market price for it. Our process is as easy as 1-2-3:

  1. Get your free quote! Punch in basic information about your Kia or Hyundai on our website and you’ll get a free, guaranteed quote in 90 seconds.

    Towing is on the house. Don’t worry about fees cutting into the profit you take home.

  2. Schedule your pickup within 24-48 hours! Like what you see? Schedule your Kia or Hyundai’s retrieval with one of our partners close to you. They’re trusted to come to you when it works best for you.

    Need more time to think it over? No problem. Your offer is valid for a whole week, so it’ll be waiting for you when you come back.

  3. Complete your sale! A quick inspection and title transfer is all that’s left. You’ll get your quoted amount without any haggling. Count your cash while your Kia or Hyundai is hauled away.

Contact CarBrain today and let us handle your Kia or Hyundai damaged by a TikTok theft!

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Frequently Asked Questions

Why are Kias and Hyundais being targeted by TikTok thefts?

Certain models of Kia and Hyundai built between 2010 and 2021 lack push-to-start technology or key fobs. Instead, they require a mechanical key to start the vehicle.

TikTok thieves have figured out how to use a USB cable, a screwdriver and their smartphones to target these vehicles, break into them and steal them. The thieves began sharing tips and bragging about their thefts on the social media platform, and copycat thieves began popping up.

How can I protect my Kia or Hyundai from theft?

Hyundai has begun selling a security kit for a $170 pricetag to clients whose vehicles are vulnerable to theft. It also promised that an "ignition kill" software update will be available for free to all vehicle owners in June 2023.

Kia has begun providing steering wheel lock devices to local law enforcement for free.

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