WITH KIA AND HYUNDAI THEFTS SPIKING, INSURANCE INDUSTRY ASSOCIATIONS ENCOURAGE YOUTUBE TO REMOVE 'HOW TO' VIDEOS
INDUSTRY LEADERS SAY YOUTUBE IS NOT DOING ENOUGH TO STOP MISUSE OF PLATFORM
DES PLAINES, Ill., Jan. 19, 2023 -- Thefts of Kia and Hyundai automobiles increased dramatically across the United States in 2022, and insurance industry associations say misuse of social media platforms, like YouTube, by individuals and criminal organizations are contributing to the spike in illegal activity. The National Insurance Crime Bureau, Coalition Against Insurance Fraud, and International Association of Special Investigation Units sent a joint letter to YouTube Chief Executive Officer Susan Wojcicki requesting the social media platform remove "how to" videos that provide detailed instructions for stealing Kia and Hyundai automobiles.
"Everyday consumers are being victimized by criminals using social media platforms to learn their newest illegal tricks and techniques," said David Glawe, President and CEO of the National Insurance Crime Bureau. "Some platforms are not doing enough to protect innocent victims from unnecessary harm."
Since these tutorial-type videos started appearing on YouTube, TikTok, and other social media platforms, many police departments across the U.S. have reported drastic increases in Kia and Hyundai thefts, including in:
- Chicago: 601 Kia and Hyundai vehicles were stolen in August 2022, compared to just 58 in August 2021, according to the Cook County Sheriff's Department.
- Los Angeles: An 85% increase in Kia and Hyundai thefts were committed in 2022 compared to 2021, according to Los Angeles police officials.
- St. Louis: 48% of the 3,970 motor vehicles reported stolen in 2022 (through August) were Kia and Hyundai models, compared with only 7% of the total vehicles stolen in 2021, according to the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.
- Milwaukee (where the original video was filmed): Two thirds of the 5,144 vehicles stolen in 2021 (through July) were Kia and Hyundai models.
"Insurance fraud is the crime we all pay for. Posting of videos such as these harms American consumers by increasing auto thefts and driving up higher premiums. It is time for practices such as these to stop. We can all play a part in fighting insurance crime," said Matthew Smith, Executive Director of the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud.
"Enabling criminals to share the tools and techniques of their trade through posting videos online adversely impacts all consumers," said Celeste Dodson, President of the International Association of Special Investigation Units. "When a vehicle is stolen, it is often not the end of the crime but the beginning. Vehicle thefts are associated with a multitude of criminal activity, including insurance fraud. The cost of these crimes is then passed on to consumers through higher premiums."
In the letter to YouTube, industry leaders acknowledge that other social media platforms, including TikTok, need to do more to prevent these types of videos from being shared. However, YouTube has failed to remove many of these videos from its own platform.
REPORT FRAUD: Anyone with information concerning insurance fraud or vehicle theft can report it anonymously by calling toll-free 800.TEL.NICB (800.835.6422) or submitting a form on our website.
ABOUT THE NATIONAL INSURANCE CRIME BUREAU: Headquartered in Des Plaines, Ill., the NICB is the nation's leading not-for-profit organization exclusively dedicated to combatting and preventing insurance crime through Intelligence, Analytics, and Operations; Education and Crime Prevention; and Strategy, Policy, and Advocacy. The NICB is supported by more than 1,200 property and casualty insurance companies and self-insured organizations. NICB member companies wrote over $582 billion in insurance premiums in 2021, or more than 82% of the nation's property-casualty insurance. That includes more than 96% of the nation's personal auto insurance. To learn more, visit www.nicb.org.
ABOUT THE COALITION AGAINST INSURANCE FRAUD: Insurance fraud is the crime we all pay for costing consumers more than $308.6B each year. Formed in 1993, the Coalition is the nation's only alliance uniting all groups against insurance fraud. 280+ member organizations comprise the Coalition. Consumers, insurers, government agencies, legislators, prosecutors and other committed partners come together under the Coalition banner. The Coalition fights all forms of insurance scams regardless of who commits the fraud. The power of our diversity and unity in protecting consumers earns the Coalition unparalleled credibility. The Coalition leads the fight against insurance fraud in our nation and with our global partners through advocacy, consumer education and research.
ABOUT THE INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF SPECIAL INVESTIGATION UNITS: Founded in 1984, IASIU is the global leader in advancing excellence within the insurance fraud fighting community. This non-profit organization includes over 3,600 insurance investigators and fraud fighting professionals from across the globe. IASIU remains focused on providing education and training to their members, while promoting a coordinated effort within the industry to raise awareness and combat insurance fraud.
SOURCE National Insurance Crime Bureau