Kidnappers and human traffickers are a plague on humanity. They flourish even in modern society, hiding in its dark, seedy underbelly, looking for victims. And however comfortable and safe we might feel, there is always the chance that one of us could be their next target.

A video by TikTok user Ice.lemon.water has been going viral showing wire wrapped around the door handles of two cars. Later, TikTok user Achunkyguy explained what, in their opinion, this means. He shared his take that this is a tactic that kidnappers allegedly use to distract their targets. In an interview with Bored Panda, Reece, aka Achunkyguy, confirmed that he doesn’t have “cold hard evidence” that this technique is used by kidnappers. “However from the response on some of my videos it’s safe to say it’s a widely known thing amongst women,” he shared his opinion.

Keep in mind, however, that there isn’t yet any official confirmation from the police that this is a real tactic that kidnappers use.

A TikTok video about wire on car door handles went viral, getting over 20 million views

Image credits: ice.lemon.water

The author of the video implied that this might be linked to tactics that kidnappers supposedly use

Image credits: ice.lemon.water

Here’s the video in full

@ice.lemon.waterWe thought it was a joke at first until we found the second one 😳 #fyp #foryou #foryoupage #scary #viral #trending #BoseAllOut♬ Scary – Background Sounds

Reece had some useful tips for staying safe on the streets and in public: “There are many ways we can all stay safe, from martial arts to personal defense weapons, however, I’d say the easiest way to just to stay vigilant, park in well-lit areas, be aware of your surroundings, have someone you love know where you are at all times, there are also good apps that can be used if you feel panicked, I personally know of ‘noonlight’ and the ‘Hollie Gaurd’ apps.”

When it comes to separating fact from fiction with regards to real/fake tactics used by kidnappers, it isn’t always easy. Reece suggests getting your news from reputable news sources. “With that in mind, I’ve never seen it happen myself nor have I heard of any stories locally, however, I live in the UK and human trafficking doesn’t make a splash in the bucket compared to the US, that being said dog-knapping in the UK is a very big problem and people will mark the outside of houses with a number and letter stating the amount and of what breeds, although not the same it’s still an organized tactic.”

Ice.lemon.water’s video got a whopping 20 million views. The people in the comments urged each other to stay safe and have something like pepper spray on their person at all times just in case it’s needed.

Meanwhile, Achunkyguy, aka Reece, told his 224.6k member audience that kidnappers supposedly wrap wire around door handles to keep their intended victims distracted for longer while they try to untangle everything.

Reece suggested that if you ever spot something like this on the door handle of your own car, you should go back to a populated area. You should also only approach your car if you’re not alone in order to stay safe.

In other words, your safety is paramount, so if you’re confused or scared, it’s best to ask for help. According to Reece, a lot of his followers are supposedly familiar with the wire tactic that kidnappers allegedly use.

It’s always a good idea to know self-defense and to be prepared if anyone does try to kidnap or mug you. However, this doesn’t mean that each and every strange thing shared on social media is a kidnapper’s attempt to bamboozle their target. Some are true, yes; others, however, are hoaxes that people come up with to get attention online or urban legends that are easy to spread in the internet age.

Another TikToker shared his take on what the wire means. In his opinion, it’s a tactic that kidnappers allegedly use to keep their targets busy

Image credits: achunkyguy

Image credits: achunkyguy

Image credits: achunkyguy

Image credits: achunkyguy

Image credits: achunkyguy

Image credits: achunkyguy

Image credits: achunkyguy

You can watch Reece’s full TikTok right over here

@achunkyguy#stitch with @ice.lemon.water one of the oldest tricks in the book #fy #fyp #fypシ #foryou #foryoupage #fortheladies #forthegirls♬ Scary – Background Sounds

For example, PolitiFact pointed out at the start of 2020 that the warning about sex traffickers linking two cars’ door handles with a zip tie contraption was unsubstantiated. The police had no reports of sex traffickers ever doing this. Meanwhile, nonprofit organizations that fight human trafficking also couldn’t confirm this.

“By far the most pervasive myth about human trafficking is that it always—or often—involves kidnapping or otherwise physically forcing someone into a situation. In reality, most human traffickers use psychological means such as tricking, defrauding, manipulating or threatening victims,” the Polaris Project pointed out.

Police officers have also debunked claims that kidnappers are allegedly leaving zip ties on other parts of their victims’ cars.

“It’s essentially like an urban legend or a scare-lore. The whole idea of the intent is just to scare people,” Lt. Brian Oleksyk from the Michigan State Police said about misinformation about zip ties placed around side mirrors.

“There’ve been other hoaxes that have been proven false like a flannel shirt on a windshield of a car or a specific parking lot of a shopping mall is grounds for sex-trafficking,” he said. “It slows us down from investigating real crimes. We have to prove that it’s a false hoax and it’s got no material to it.”

Meanwhile, Shari Montgomery, the founder of The House of Promise that helps victims of sex trafficking explained that hoaxes confuse the public and make it harder for everyone to separate fact from fiction.

“It’s frustrating because then the message gets really muddy and then we go back to almost square one trying to educate the public on what really is happening out there and what you really should look for,” Montgomery shared.

Some people shared their own tactics and tips for staying safe

Meanwhile, others shared that while staying safe is important, there’s no need to get paranoid

In short: keep your eyes and ears open, always have a better-safe-than-sorry mentality, but don’t live your life in constant fear of abduction.