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Security Alert: Criminal organizations exploiting dating apps to target foreign travelers
January 19, 2023

Location: Kingston and Montego Bay, Jamaica

Event: The United States Embassy has been informed of several robberies over the past 18 months of United States citizens targeted through the use of dating apps, especially apps popular within the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex (LGBTQI+) communities.  Criminals have used apps to lure foreign visitors into meeting in public spaces such as hotel restaurants and bars, and then later assaulting, threatening , and or robbing the victims.  Police often do not make arrests or prosecute assailants in these cases.

 Actions to take:

  • Protect your identity and be careful about sharing personal information on your public profile.
  • Remember that criminals both in the United States and abroad use dating apps to extort victims through threats to expose compromising pictures or other information.  Only share personal information with users that you can trust and be aware of phishing and romance scams.
  • Don’t rush into things; try to verify through social media or mutual friends that the person you are communicating with is who they say they are.  Make sure you have a photo and name of the person you plan to meet through an app.
  • Meet in a public space first and be careful about what possessions you take with you.  Be cautious about inviting others into your hotel room or accommodation.
  • Exercise caution when consuming alcohol and don’t accept drinks or drugs from strangers.
  • Before meeting with a stranger, have a plan for how you will end the date if it does not feel right.
  • Do not display signs of wealth, such as wearing expensive jewelry or watches.
  • Do not physically resist any robbery attempt.
  • If you are the victim of a crime, contact local police at 119 and the U.S. Embassy in Kingston as soon as possible. In a hotel, management should assist you with these communications.