BALTIMORE -- Howard County police are alerting residents to an uptick in automobile robberies.
Criminals are targeting vehicles made by Hyundai and Kia.
It's part of a national trend that started on social media.
People are participating in a TikTok challenge that requires them to steal cars using objects that can often be found at home.
Many modern cars have push-start buttons that turn on a vehicle but this trend specifically targets Hyundai and Kia cars made between 2011–2021.
These cars are particularly vulnerable to theft because they can be rigged with a USB cord.
"You can basically use a USB cord that you can buy anywhere to start these cars after you remove the steering column," Howard County Police Department spokesman Seth Hoffman.
In a statement to CBS News, Hyundai said that criminals are targeting its vehicles without engine immobilizers.
"[I]mmobilizers detect a computer chip on either a KEY OR FOB that allows the engine to start," according to the statement.
Hyundai recently released a security kit that car owners can have installed at the dealership, Hoffman said.
Additionally, car owners can purchase a steering wheel lock as well as park somewhere that requires security access.
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