US Embassy issues security alert and warns of deaths involving ‘online dating applications’ in Colombia

Acknowledging eight suspicious deaths of private U.S. citizens in Medellin, Colombia, between November and December 31, 2023, the U.S. Embassy in Bogota released a security alert on Wednesday. The embassy emphasized that these fatalities appear to be related to either unintentional drug overdoses or possible homicides.

Although the circumstances surrounding each incident are different, it is currently thought that these deaths are unrelated. However, multiple cases raise the possibility of drugging, robbery, and overdose. The security alert also made clear that using online dating applications is a contributing factor in some of these incidents.

The tourism observatory of the Medellin district personnel reported a notable 200% increase in thefts against foreign visitors in the third trimester of 2023 compared to the same period the previous year (excluding Venezuelans). In 2023, the number of violent deaths involving foreign visitors increased by 29%, with the majority of the victims being citizens of the United States.

The organization also brought attention to the fact that thieves use dating apps to lure victims into meeting places such as restaurants, bars, and hotels so they can rob and assault them afterwards. According to the statement, many American citizens in Colombia have been the victims of drugging, robbery, and, in certain cases, murder by people they met on these dating apps.

The Embassy saw a rising pattern in reports of incidents over the previous year where victims—typically foreigners—were lured in by using online dating apps, which led to violent robberies or situations where sedatives were used to drug and rob people. In the interest of public safety, the advisory acts as a warning to increase awareness of the possible risks associated with such online interactions.

Moreover, the embassy declared that they routinely get reports of these kinds of events occurring in big cities, like Medellin, Cartagena, and Bogota, among others.

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