A Fairfax County woman said she was unaware of viral social media posts showing how easy it is to steal certain models of Kia and Hyundai vehicles – until her own car was stolen on Jan. 1.
The victim, who earns her living as a rideshare driver, was told it could take weeks to get her car back.
Miriam, who did not want to use her last name, didn’t even know her blue Hyundai had been stolen from the parking lot of her Lorton apartment complex in the overnight hours until police contacted her. They had found it abandoned.
She was also unaware of the viral TikTok posts demonstrating how to steal Kia and Hyundai vehicles because of an ignition design that makes it fairly easy to drive off without a key.
“The original officer who called us, she actually informed us. She was the first one, and then officers who came informed us, and then my insurance company,” she said. “That’s how we really found out about the TikToks.”
The problem has become so widespread that Hyundai is selling an aftermarket security kit.
Both companies have promised a theft-prevention software update will be available this year.
Fairfax County police said thieves continue to exploit the vulnerability, with a half-dozen Kia and Hyundai vehicles targeted in just one night last week.
“It’s kind of a common trend unfortunately we’ve been seeing in the county since November of last year, when we’ve had 37 total incidents,” a spokesperson for the police department said.
Miriam said she’s been told that it could take three weeks to fix the steering column damage done to her car, because there’s a back-up of Hyundai and Kia owners needing similar repairs.
Until then, she can’t get back to work.
“My aunt, who’s been so wonderful, created a GoFundMe for me, which has been helpful with keeping up with things,” Miriam said. “She’s amazing, and I thank God for her.”
A group of owners of the targeted vehicles have filed a class action lawsuit against the makers, alleging a problem with their design makes them easy to steal.