DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — The Ohio Department of Commerce is warning Ohioans to be cautious when interacting with strangers on dating and messaging apps, which could be part of a “pig butchering” scam.

The scam is named after the practice of fattening a pig before the slaughter. Scammers feed their victims with promises of romance and investment returns before stealing the victims’ money.

“Pig-butchering” scams have grown dramatically in recent years, with individuals sometimes losing hundreds of thousands of dollars, according to a release from the Ohio Department of Commerce.

The scam frequently targets victims on dating and messaging platforms using the false pretense of a romantic relationship or investment opportunity. Once trust is established, the scammer tricks victims into sending money to cryptocurrency or other trading accounts that the scammer controls, the release states.

Here are some common tactics and warning signs to look out for:

  • Reluctance to meet in-person or by video
  • Wanting a long-distance relationship
  • Discussing wealth or business success
  • Steering you to an online app or website

“Anyone offering or selling securities or investment advice should generally be registered with the Ohio Division of Securities,” Ohio’s Securities Commissioner Andrea Seidt said.

“If a stranger messages you and tries to convince you to invest with them, or asks to trade money for you in any kind of security or cryptocurrency, do a quick background check first by contacting the Divisions’ Investor Protection Hotline at 1-877-683-7841 or via email at”

More information about how to protect yourself from online scams can be found here.