The way certain types of vehicles can be easily stolen has become a new challenge on social media, and a D.C. woman who says her car was stolen is sharing her story to encourage other victims to come forward.
Nicole’s Hyundai Elantra was stolen from her neighborhood in Laurel, Maryland last week.
Her car was found a few days later – the steering column was ripped out, the glass was broken. It’s still sitting in impound and waiting to be fixed
She only learned the day before that some Kia and Hyundai models can be stolen using a USB phone charger.
“Most consumers are not aware,” she said. “So I have a bunch of neighbors who have Kias and Hyundais. As I pull into the parking lot, I worry that the same thing could happen to them this weekend.”
Videos on TikTok and other platforms showing how to do it. Many call it the “Kia Challenge”.
“The police told me they were teenagers,” Nicole said. “They just want to ride in your vehicle. They get on TikTok and see that it’s something easy and they do it.”
Nicole wants people who own these cars to know the risk. She also wants car companies to do something about it. There are ways to fix the problem, but it’s up to the owner to pay for it.
“I don’t want to pay anything; I don’t want to do that,” she said. “You should have installed these things before I bought my vehicle.”
Nicole said if she knew the car could be stolen via USB cable, she wouldn’t have bought it.
So far, she’s out several hundred dollars for the deductible and other expenses, and she’s still not sure when she’ll get the car back.
“I don’t want that,” she said. “I don’t want that because the police let me know it could be stolen again and I risk being dropped by my insurance.”
The only rental car she could get was a Hyundai, so she bought a steering wheel lock to prevent that car from being stolen as well.