Viral TikTok challenge to steal Kias, Hyundais grabs law enforcement’s attention

Aug 11, 2022, 12:24 PM | Updated: 12:35 pm
tiktok challenge kia...
Seattle City Attorney Ann Davison is suing Kia and Hyundai for hundreds of car thefts in Seattle. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The Puget Sound Auto Theft Task-Force (PSATT) is warning drivers of a viral “TikTok challenge” that shows people how to steal certain Kia and Hyundai vehicles.

The challenge demonstrates how to hotwire and steal Kia models 2011 and newer, and Hyundai models from 2015 and newer, with a USB cable.

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If those vehicles require a key in the ignition, they are at risk, according to PSATT. If the vehicle uses a push button to start, it is not at risk for theft from this challenge.

“The Puget Sound Auto Theft Task-Force is aware of the ‘Kia TikTok Challenge’ currently circulating media platforms,” PSATT said in a statement. “We are extremely concerned about the significant security risk of these vehicles and have seen a large increase in Kia thefts over the past few days because of the media coverage of this ‘challenge.'”

PSATT outlined some preventative measures to stop potential car thefts:

  • Consider purchasing a steering wheel lock, a locking rod-type device that stretches across your car’s steering wheel to prevent it from being steered properly. So if a thief is able to start your car, the lock will prevent them from driving away with it.
  • Install a hidden GPS to track your vehicle if it is stolen.
  • Install a hidden kill switch so the vehicle cannot be started even if the ignition is defeated.

If you witnessed a theft or know someone involved in the “challenge,” contact PSATT at 253-329-2422 or email  AutoTheftTips@wsp.wa.gov.

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Viral TikTok challenge to steal Kias, Hyundais grabs law enforcement’s attention