As if they didn't have enough to worry about, Hyundai and Kia owners in New York State should be extra careful when checking their mail this month.

It's been a tough 12 months for many owners of certain affordable Korean automobiles. Many models of both Kia and Hyundai cars have been in the spotlight after many thieves learned of "hacks" to steal the vehicles on social media platforms like TikTok. A solution could be waiting in many New Yorker's mailboxes.

TSM Poughkeepsie
TSM Poughkeepsie

New York Governor's Letter to Hyundai and Kia Owners

My letter came last week, and I almost threw it directly in the trash. With the volume of junk mail that gets sent every day, it was only the governor's seal that saved it from immediate recycling. Inside was a special message to Kia and Hyundai owners like me.

TSM Poughkeepsie
TSM Poughkeepsie

The New York Governor's Response to Recent Car Thefts

"This letter is to alert you to a major increase in car thefts focused on certain Kia and Hyundai cars including the one(s) you have registered in New York State," it began. "It is also to advise of tools available to you free of charge to help protect your car from being stolen." I had heard about the thefts, but "free tools" to stop thefts were news to me.

Read More: TikTok Challenge Puts Kia Owners at Risk

In addition to common-sense advice like parking (and locking) your car in a well-lit area and never leaving valuables behind in your vehicle, the letter also shared steps being taken by both Hyundai and Kia directly, including new software to make a would-be thief's job much harder.

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Software Update Available for New York Hyundai and Kia Owners

The software, which is provided free of charge to eligible vehicle owners, provides additional protection to cars without vehicle-immobilizer systems.

From the United States Department of Transportation (NHTSA):

The software updates the theft alarm software logic to extend the length of the alarm sound from 30 seconds to one minute and requires the key to be in the ignition switch to turn the vehicle on.

Hyundai and Kia are also creating a special sticker meant to further deter criminals. The sticker advertises "Kia/Hyundai Anti-Theft Logic", and can be provided to owners free of change in addition to the software update. Kia owners should call 800-333-4542 and Hyundai owners should call 800-633-5151 for more information on both the software update and sticker.

15 Ways to Avoid Falling Victim to Crimes of Opportunity

Protecting your valuables is often a matter of being aware of potential risks. These tips could help save you from what police call crimes of opportunity.

Gallery Credit: Cindy Campbell

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