U.S. State Department warns against using dating apps in Colombia

Crimes against foreign travelers are increasing in Colombia and that includes U.S. citizens using dating apps while visiting the country.
Beach scene in Bocagrande, Cartagena, Colombia...
Beach scene in Bocagrande, Cartagena, Colombia... / Wolfgang Kaehler/GettyImages

Traveling overseas always comes with a bit of danger. Individuals are looking to take advantage of visitors and sometimes they get away with their deeds. However, the US State Department took things a bit further by issuing a warning to American travelers heading to Colombia to avoid using dating apps while in the country.

The official advisory was released on January 10. In the document, the “suspicious death” of eight US citizens between November 1 and December 31, 2023, is directly stated. According to the release, the deaths appear to “involve involuntary drugging overdose or homicides.” According to the report, criminals are using dating apps to lure unsuspecting men into locations where they are then assaulted and robbed.

“U.S. citizens should be vigilant, maintain heightened situation awareness, and incorporate strong personal security practices into their activities.”

One of the more well-known cases involved Minnesota comedian, Tou Ger Xiong. He told his family he would be meeting a woman he met online, as reported by CBS News. He was then kidnapped and held for $2,000. He was later found dead.

The advisory also mentions an increase in other crimes against foreign travelers. For example, in 2023 there was a 200 percent increase in theft and a 29 percent increase in violent deaths, where most of the victims were United States citizens.

This comes at a time when traveling to countries such as Colombia continues to grow in popularity, especially by some looking to date outside the United States. Dubbed “Passport Bros,” this growing online community of men frequenting other countries for dating purposes has become a hotbed of controversy for several reasons. In Colombia, Medellin, Cartagena, and Bogota are popular hotbeds for this behavior. Oftentimes, they are accused of taking advantage of women in poor and developing countries.