Scams Worry Carnival Revelers

People in enthusiastic crowds are easy targets for scammers who slip date rape drugs into drinks and even change values of purchases

Rio de Janeiro

Renata, 22, was always called a "tourinha" [bull] by her friends for being strong when it came time to drink alcohol.

At 1.78 m, the student can handle her alcohol. She remembers the night she took 15 pints and took a test in college hours later, "only slightly drunk".

This was until last year, when in a street carnival group in Barra da Tijuca (west zone of Rio) last Carnival, she had just three sips of a strawberry caipirinha. She still doesn't know what happened. She's unsure if someone put something in her drink. She doesn't know If it was the man in the stall who sold the drink for R$ 10 or the person who brought it.

Charanga do França band in São Paulo (Foto: Jardiel Carvalho/Folhapress - COTIDIANO). - Folhapress

A year ago, Renata, who prefers to omit her surname "because few friends know", woke up in her room without understanding how she had gotten her. She had purple marks on her knee and a strange feeling.

Renata was so ashamed that she did not go to the hospital or the police station, but she suspects that she was a victim of sexual abuse. "I got home and wallet, money, everything was there, but still ... I don't think I had penetration, but I had a hickey brand, and I have always hated hickeys. I would never bother."

The trauma resurfaced after reading reports of people who would also have had a "good night, Cinderella," this time in the pre-Carnival of 2020.

Crowds on the street, drunk much of the time, became an easy target for Carnival blows. Some classics: card exchange at the time of purchase and changed cost.

Bruno, 17, almost fell into this scam in 2019. Already "crazier than Batman," he looked for a street vendor who would accept a card because the money ran out.

He found the three cans of beer a bargain for R$ 10. At the last minute, his girlfriend started shouting at the seller: he was charging R$ 1,000.

Translated by Kiratiana Freelon

Read the article in the original language