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Thieves Shift Focus: Social Media Influencing Theft Trends

In 2023, the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) updated its list of the most commonly stolen vehicles, revealing a notable shift in targets. While full-size pickup trucks once dominated the charts, a new trend has emerged, potentially influenced by social media.

The Rise of the Hyundai Elantra: A Surprising Leader in Car Theft

The Hyundai Elantra, a staple of company fleets and personal commuters alike, claimed the dubious honor of being the most frequently stolen vehicle in 2023. With over 48,000 reported thefts nationwide, this sedan surpassed the traditional dominance of pickup trucks in the realm of auto theft.

Hyundai and Kia: Prime Targets of Car Thieves

In a striking revelation, six out of the ten most frequently stolen models belonged to Hyundai and Kia, signaling a significant uptick in thefts of vehicles from these manufacturers. The surge partly results from TikTok videos showing how to exploit car security vulnerabilities.

TikTok’s Role in Propelling Car Theft

Since 2020, TikTok has been inundated with videos showcasing techniques for stealing Hyundai and Kia vehicles, with some tutorials garnering millions of views. These videos have inadvertently served as tutorials for aspiring car thieves, contributing to a staggering increase in theft rates, reaching up to 1000% in some cases.

Industry Response: Combating Car Theft Through Technology

Acknowledging the severity of the situation, Hyundai took proactive measures by establishing temporary “clinics” across the country to provide anti-theft software upgrades for owners of vulnerable vehicles. Similarly, Kia announced comprehensive security enhancements in late 2023, aiming to mitigate the risk of theft for their customers.

Top 10 Most Frequently Stolen Vehicles of 2023

The NICB’s data for 2023 revealed the following vehicles as the most targeted by thieves:

  1. Hyundai Elantra
  2. Ford F-Series
  3. Honda Civic
  4. Honda Accord
  5. Chevrolet Silverado
  6. Toyota Camry
  7. Nissan Altima
  8. Chevrolet Malibu
  9. Toyota Corolla
  10. GMC Sierra

Taking Action: Reporting Stolen Vehicles

Despite the alarming statistics, there is a silver lining for victims of auto theft. According to NICB data, nearly half of stolen vehicles are recovered within two days of being reported missing. Therefore, swift action is crucial in increasing the chances of recovery.


As car theft trends evolve, it is evident that social media platforms like TikTok wield significant influence over criminal behavior. The rise of Hyundai and Kia vehicles as prime targets underscores the importance of proactive security measures and swift reporting in combating auto theft. By staying vigilant and leveraging technological advancements, both car manufacturers and law enforcement agencies can work together to safeguard vehicles and protect owners from falling victim to this pervasive crime.