From the first time he talked to a young man who claimed to be Alvaro, thirty-year-old nurse Luana * was charmed by the man. They met in a relationship application in early January this year. In less than two days, they began to consider themselves boyfriends, even though they had never met in person.
Luana says that she fell in love with Álvaro because she considered him a caring, beautiful and successful man. He said that he was a recently-contested public defender, who had been born in Rio Grande do Sul and had moved to Macapá (AP) a few weeks ago, where the woman lives.
“I believed everything he told me. I did not look for information about him, because I was very delighted with his actions with me,” Luana tells BBC News Brazil.
In one week of conversation, she received flowers and love declarations through WhatsApp. Another time, the nurse loaned R $ 600 to Alvaro, because he said he needed it urgently.
Days later, she was asked to marry him. Even without ever having seen him, since he used to use different excuses not to find her, the nurse accepted.
The perfect man, in Luana’s eyes, never existed. Alvaro was a fake, an expression used to denominate fake profiles on the internet.
The story ended with the police. A 24-year-old girl was in charge of the profile. Investigations have pointed out that the suspicion has deceived dozens of other women in Macapa.
On the internet, it is common to find accounts of men and women who have been misled by false profiles. Some stories have become police cases. Others have only left traces in the lives of those who have engaged in a relationship with someone who has never existed.
Psychologist Ana Sandra Fernandes explains that there are people who get involved with virtual profiles, without questioning if that person really exists, for idealizing a perfect relationship. “We live a culture very influenced by fairy tales. It influences a lot of relationships, because many people try to live something perfect.”
“In real relationships, you get involved with people who have faults. In virtual relationships, people can fantasize a perfection without showing the problems, so in many cases the person is so immersed in that supposed fairy tale that he does not realize many inconsistencies in the history of that false profile. The victim ends up accepting that this is real and embarks on that story, “explains Fernandes.
When Luana downloaded the dating application to meet a boy, she had been single for six months after finishing a two-year relationship. Prior to the last relationship, the nurse had been married for five years. “I’ve never used any apps like that, but my friends insisted and I decided to try it,” he says.
The very first day she used the app, she met Alvaro. “He told me that he was 35 and was looking for a serious relationship,” he says.
The first surprise of the nurse was the request for courtship, a few days after meeting the boy. “A woman took a bouquet of flowers at my service.” She did not ask for my name or anything, she just handed it to me and left, and then Alvaro called me asking if I liked the gift. I thanked him and accepted him. “
“I was charmed by that bouquet, because I had never received one, but I was frightened by the request of courtship, because we were talking a little while ago.” I asked him to meet us in person as soon as possible. next day, “reports Luana.
Despite the deal, they did not meet the next day, one Saturday. “He told me I could help him because I’m a nurse, but he said he did not need to, because he did not want to give me a job,” he says.
On Sunday morning, Alvaro commented to Luana that he was feeling better. According to the nurse, he said he wanted to find her, but first he had to take the car to the garage. The man asked for $ 600 loan to the woman. “He said he was not able to withdraw that amount because he had trouble accessing the bank account.”
The nurse loaned the money. She valued the same woman who had given her the bouquet of flowers. “I found her to take the $ 600. Alvaro told me that she was a friend of his, whose name was Fernanda,” reports Luana.
Over the next few days, the nurse kept talking to the profile she had known in the application. An encounter between them seemed more and more distant. “He always invented some excuse. He said he was indisposed or that he had too much work,” Luana recalls.
The woman claims that she did not suspect that she might be deceived. “I had not been questioned about the possibility that it was a sham. For me, it was very clear that Álvaro existed,” he says.
When he had completed a week since meeting the man, Luana received a new gift, also taken by his friend. “He sent me a bouquet of flowers, accompanied by an alliance and a request for a wedding.” Then Alvaro called me and asked me what my answer was. That night, I accepted the request. “
Once again, Alvaro did not show up to find the nurse. To talk about what he was living, Luana called a friend. “I was so caught up in that story that I had been away from my friends since I met him, I had not told anyone about him, and when I told our friend about our story, she was suspicious of everything,” she says.
The nurse’s friends helped her search for information about the man: there was no record of him in the Public Defender’s Office of Amapá, not even in the publicly approved lists of the region.
“At first I had a hard time believing that I had been deceived, because I really did not want to see that I had lived a lie,” he says.
The friends persuaded the nurse to report the story to the police. “For example, every day he sent me pictures, always from the same place, which did not seem to be in Macapá And he did not even know the name of the forum in the region, “Luana says,” if he was a public defender himself, he should know.
The arrest of ‘Alvaro’
After Luana recorded an incident report about the case, a friend of hers found a report from months ago and showed her to the nurse. “The text was about a young woman who had been arrested for misleading several women, and when I saw the photo of the girl, I saw that it was Fernanda, and that was when I realized that she was not Alvaro’s friend.
“For me, it was a shock to find out that it was a woman.” Every time we talked on the phone, it was a man’s voice. even a Gaucho accent, “he says.
In order for the police to arrest the girl behind the false profile, the nurse arranged a meeting with Alvaro. “He asked me to borrow $ 300 and I said I would borrow it, so I asked him to come and find me.” He said he would ask Fernanda to take the money from me.
Law lawyer Marcelo Crespo, a specialist in Digital Law, explains that creating a false profile can, at first, constitute a crime of false identity. “In these cases, the person is not going to be arrested, but he can be sentenced to up to one year in prison,” he said.
The most serious cases, according to Crespo, occur when the owner of the false profile also practices estelionato – seek advantage over someone’s assets through fraud. “The person deceives the victim to misappropriate part of their property. In this situation, the person can be arrested and the penalties vary from one to five years,” says the lawyer.
The young woman behind Álvaro’s profile was arrested for stealing, the moment she met with Luana. According to the Civil Police, Lorrany Cristina, 24, deceived at least 20 other women. “The estimate is that she has caused damages of more than $ 20,000 to these women, in whole, through money that convinced the victims to lend,” explains delegate Leandro Vieira Leite.
“In June of last year, she had already deceived other women and had been arrested for the same crime. She remained in prison for four months, was released and returned to commit the same crime,” says the delegate.
The photos used by Lorrany were from a lawyer from Santa Catarina. “The Civil Police did not hear him, because we have completed the investigation, but if he wants to, he can file a lawsuit for moral damages against the girl,” said the delegate.
Lorrany’s flagrant arrest has been converted to pre-emptive and she remains detained.
More than a month after the girl’s arrest, Luana reveals that she still blames herself for believing in her lies. “There were some simple details that I did not realize. I could have tried to find out if Álvaro really existed,” he says.
For more than 10 days she could not return home. “I stayed with my mother, because everything in my house reminded me of that story,” she says. Currently the nurse has been doing psychological counseling. “It was very traumatic. For a few days, after everything happened, I would wake up in the middle of the night and think about it.”
Cheated on orkut
The emotional problems brought about by involvement with a false profile are also reported by the tarólogo Diogo Tavares, 24 years old. As a teenager, he dated for two years with a fake. “It was Orkut time, he added me, we started talking and I was enchanted by him, who was a very handsome boy, who said he was 21. I was discovering my sexuality and was very contained in the day to day. being my refuge, “he reports.
A week after Diogo met the boy, who said to call himself Caius, the two began to date virtually. “He said he was a surfer, he lived in Maresias (SP) and he had a surf shop, he seemed like the dream boy, I was completely in love with him, we spent more than two hours on the phone, almost every day,” tarólogo, who at the time was 15 years old.
According to psychologist Ana Sandra Fernandes, those responsible for fakes usually create profiles based on what they believe is within the standards of society. “Among the authors of these profiles, I think there may be a need for acceptance and self-assertion. Often the person realizes that her real profile, as it really is, does not catch anyone’s attention. people would like to have around. “
“It is not very difficult to imagine this pattern of perfection, the media shows what is an ideal relationship, a perfect couple, and what physical types are the most common.” We live in a society that has difficulties accepting different people of a supposed pattern, then these false profiles follow this stereotype of what would be perfect, “adds Fernandes.
Diogo says he was delighted with the attention he received from the boy. “I had a very low self-esteem and he helped me a lot, he always spoke the things I wanted to hear and he supported me, I could not see any faults in him.
Months after starting the virtual relationship, the tarólogo, who lives in Águas Claras (DF), tried to visit Caio. “I told him I had money saved and could go to Maresias to see him, but he said he could not, because he was too busy with work. It made me sad, but not to the point of giving up.”
For two years, they maintained the relationship. The young man only discovered that he had been cheated when he created a profile on Facebook. “I found a boy with the same pictures as Caio, and the images were much more current than the ones he sent me. I had a hard time believing, but there I understood that I was deceived for so long,” he says.
Diogo sent a message to the owner of the photos used by the then boyfriend. “The boy did not pay much attention, but he thanked me for telling him,” he says.
The Tarólogo confronted Caius about the discovery. “At first he denied it, but then he confirmed that it was fake, and for me it was very sad,” he recalls. After Diogo insisted, the boy revealed the true identity. “He was a person who would not interest me, usually.
Even revolted with the situation, the tarólogo opted not to denounce it. “I do not think anything would happen to him, so it would not be worth it to wear me out and go to the police.”
The story with the false profile is considered by the tarólogo as one of his greatest traumas. For years, the case undermined their relationship. “I have had a lot of difficulties trusting people, it has been a disruption to my relationships, and today I think I have overcome and try not to idealize people.”
Moment of fragility
For Marta *, a 47-year-old saleswoman, a virtual relationship is also one of her greatest traumas. A resident of a small town in the interior of the state of Paraná – she chose not to inform the municipality -, the woman met, at the end of 2015, a man claiming to be an Irish engineer.
“He added me to Facebook and I accepted it, even though I did not know him.” He started sending me messages with romantic content.At first I reluctantly ignored him.But he continued.I ended up enjoying reading those things and I came to correspond “he reports.
The man, who claimed to live in Ireland, claimed that he wanted to marry her. The salesgirl soon fell in love. Marta did not come to inquire into the life of the suitor, nor about the veracity of his statements.
Her relatives and friends did not approve of the virtual relationship, arguing that it was risky for her to get involved with someone she had met on the internet. Marta, however, did not listen to her relatives and dated the alleged engineer for two years.
The man once said that he would come to Brazil to meet her. Sent an image of an air ticket, with information of the arrival in the country. Marta went to the airport, which is in a nearby town, to wait for him, which did not appear. “It was very frustrating,” says the saleswoman. He claimed that he had suffered an accident while driving to the airport.
Despite the frustration, Martha continued to talk to the alleged Irish engineer. For the couple of her children – 23 and 19 years old – her mother’s lack of it kept her in touch with the man.
“She believed in all his lies. He often sent pictures to my mother, which were clearly montages, but she did not question and was still delighted with him,” says the saleswoman’s daughter.
“She lived a very fragile phase of life and this man totally manipulated her,” she says.
The children believe that the man lied about Irish nationality. “He said he was talking to my mother by the Google translator, but when he sent audios in English, he did not seem to have a European accent, I think he was from another foreign country,” says her daughter.
Throughout the period in which they maintained a virtual relationship, the man asked for money for Marta. At one time, he said he had an accident. The saleswoman claimed she did not have the amount requested by him.
The discovery that the profile was false occurred at the end of 2017, when Marta noticed that another Brazilian commented on the man’s publications on Facebook. “I got in touch with this woman, who told me that I had talked to him five years ago and that I had already sent money to him. It was then that I realized that it was really a coup and that this man was deceiving me all the time.” woman.
“I was completely frustrated, I believed in that relationship, I tried to meet other people because of him, I was stuck with his messages all the time,” he says.
Marta did not report the fake. To this day, he does not know who the man was behind the photos he used to deceive her. When he discovered the farce, he blocked it from social networks and said he did not keep in touch with him. The saleswoman says that she had difficulties to overcome the situation. Today, it alerts other people.
“It’s a lot of sadness to feel cheated,” he says. “It’s very important to check the information about the person you are meeting.
She reports that after months without leaving home, she resumed her routine. “Today, I allow myself to meet only real people, I am giving myself a chance to start a new life, this time I have a man I met personally.”