Article in Norwegian published by NRK  18.05.2024

Text & Photo by
Ingvill Dybfest Dahl
Ingrid Elise Trosten
Munevver Yildiz
Read Auto-generated English Translation Here

Alexander Rybak wants to warn people against blindly believing accounts that make contact online. PHOTO: INGRID ELISE TROSTEN / NRK


Kate is the Rybak fan who did just like in his biggest hit and fell in love with a fairy tale. Now both she and the artist want to warn others against false identity and fraud.


The case in summary

A 44-year-old woman from Portugal, known as Kate, was scammed by a person posing as the Norwegian artist Alexander Rybak on Instagram.

Kate and the fake Rybak communicated over WhatsApp, and she was eventually invited to Norway.

Kate was of the opinion that she was engaged to and was going to start a new life with Rybak.

When Kate arrived in Norway, she met the real Rybak, who did not recognize her.

The fake Rybak had asked Kate for money several times, and she claims to have lost around 13,000 euros following his solicitations.

Kate has also received several transfers of thousands of euros from different accounts, and has transferred larger amounts via Bitcoin to accounts that the fake Rybak stated.

Kate tried to report the case to the Norwegian police, but was told that she had to report in Portugal.

The summary is made by an AI service from OpenAi. The content is quality assured by NRK’s ​​journalists before publication.

– I was used and betrayed, but I am not a stalker, emphasizes Kate.

She is a 44-year-old woman from Portugal, who recently traveled to Norway in the belief that she would start a new life with her fiancé, Alexander Rybak (37).

Rybak became world famous after he won Eurovision in 2009 with the song “Fairytale”. He is used to various inquiries from fans.

But when Kate rang his doorbell in Oslo, he didn’t recognize her. The Norwegian artist had never seen her before.

– “That’s me!” so I. “What?” he said. It was as if the floor disappeared beneath me. I try to stay strong, but my heart is broken, Kate tells NRK.

The Portuguese woman uses the nickname Kate. PHOTO: INGRID ELISE TROSTEN / NRK

– She rang as if it were a very natural thing, and said “Here I am!”. So I invited her in and she showed me her entire chat, says Alexander Rybak and adds:

– It’s not the first time I’ve heard that someone pretends to be me.

The real version of the artist meets NRK together with Kate to tell the story, and warn others against uncritically believing people who make contact online.

The fraud method Kate and Rybak describe, Økokrim calls “love fraud”. Økokrim believes it is very likely that the challenges of love fraud will continue. You can read more about this further down in the case .

In love with a fairy tale

For Kate, the adventure began on March 27, 2023.

She says that she had been a fan of Alexander Rybak for a long time, and liked and commented on most of what he posted on Instagram.

Then an Instagram account pretending to be Alexander Rybak contacted her via direct message. The person thanks for the support and for being a fan.

Alexander Rybak and Kate at Akerselva in Oslo. PHOTO: INGRID ELISE TROSTEN / NRK

Eventually, Kate and “Alex” switch to communicating on WhatsApp
. They text frequently and with a very loving tone.

NRK has seen longer excerpts of this exchange of messages.

– At the beginning of it a normal tone, mostly friendly. Then it switched to ‘dear’, and after that ‘my queen’ and ‘my love’, says Kate.

Invited to Norway

At the start, “Alex” says that he would like to try to come to Portugal. But then Kate is invited to Norway.

According to the Portuguese, “Alex” offers to fly her here in his private plane. But then there are problems with the insurance. So she buys a ticket to Oslo herself, and waits for “Alex” to pick her up at the airport.

When he doesn’t show up, she reports. He says he is unfortunately not in Norway after all.

Kate says that she then stands at the airport with no money, and eventually gets help from a stranger to book a place to stay.

Kate shows parts of the message exchange with “Alex” in which they refer to each other in loving terms. He calls her “my love” and “my queen”. PHOTO: INGRID ELISE TROSTEN / NRK

Another picture of part of the message exchange between Kate and “Alex”, where she has sent him audio messages and tells him that she is at the airport in Oslo. he asks if she has any cash with her. PHOTO: INGRID ELISE TROSTEN / NRK


After checking Rybak’s photos on social media, two days later she believes she has found out where he lives, and shows up at his door.


That’s when a surprised Rybak opens the door.

– I was a complete stranger to him. I explained and he was very kind and helped me. I apologized a lot. I’m not crazy, but I’ve been stupid, says Kate.

– She was absolutely sure that she had been chatting with me for a year and invited her to Norway. I have never come across such an extensive job before, says Rybak.

Kate and Alexander Rybak meet for the second time, here to talk to NRK about what they have experienced. PHOTO: INGRID ELISE TROSTEN / NRK

When asked how long the stay in Norway would last, Kate replies:

– For life. I traveled to be with my fiancé. This was supposed to be a new start and a new life. I have faith in and trust people. I was stupid.

– Not stupid, objects Rybak.

– But you’ve probably learned your first lesson. And then you learn from it.

– It’s a big lesson, because it messes up both my life and yours, she says.

Asked for money

According to Kate, the fake Rybak has also asked her for money on several occasions. The first time, the explanation was that he needed money for instruments for the Christmas tour.

– What did you think when an apparently successful artist said he needed money from you?

– All people have problems they don’t want to show others. And I know many artists had problems after the pandemic. My instinct is to trust people and believe they have good intentions, says Kate.

Photos below:

  1. The image of Kate’s mobile shows an excerpt of the chat between her and “Alex”, in which he says he has problems with his account and therefore asks her to transfer him €2,750. He claims he will pay back.
  2. Kate shows parts of the message exchange where the person saved as “Alex” shows her sending her a receipt for money paid into her.
  3. Another part of the message exchange. here they talk both about breakfast and about money transfers. “Alex” claims Kate should have been transferred both 20,000 and 10,000 euros.
  4. Kate shows on her mobile an example of a photo “Alex” has sent her. It is taken from Rybak’s social med

She claims to NRK that she has lost a total of around 13,000 euros, approximately NOK 150,000, following calls from “Alex”. She says she has also sent “Alex” her passport information, which was allegedly to be used for the private plane register.

Also received money

She also claims that she has received several transfers of thousands of euros from several different accounts.

NRK has seen receipts for transfers to Kate’s name from accounts in Sweden, Slovenia, Croatia and Italy, among others. The sums vary from around a few hundred euros up to 10,000.

At the same time, she says that she has transferred a larger amount in total via Bitcoin to accounts named by “Alex”.

– For me, this is horrible. I don’t want it to happen to anyone else, says Kate.

Kate asks Alexander if she can help him straighten his hair before NRK takes pictures. PHOTO: INGRID ELISE TROSTEN / NRK

She states that she tried to report the case to the Norwegian police, but that she was told that she had to report it in Portugal.

When NRK talks to her a few weeks after she has returned home to Portugal, she says that the police there will only investigate the fraud part of the case and not identity theft.

According to Kate, the police reason for this is that she has voluntarily let herself be deceived and given up personal information.

Eco-crime: “Love fraud”

State prosecutor in Økokrim Anne Allum has received a description of Kate’s story from NRK and comments on a general basis.

– This is fraud that can resemble “love fraud” . It is a form of fraud that plays on people’s desire to help others, show care or be loved, she says.

A press photo of State Attorney Anne Allum in Økokrim. PHOTO: ECOCRIME

There, the fraudster spends a lot of time establishing a relationship with the victim. The request for money often starts with small amounts, which gradually become larger.

– In several cases, victims are also exploited as money mules. By that is meant those who receive money from one person and pass it on to another, either digitally or as cash, against payment, says the state attorney.

She states that last year the police registered NOK 24 million as losses related to love fraud.

The full response from Økokrim

Expand/minimize fact box
  • This is a fraud that can resemble “love fraud”. It is a form of fraud that plays on people’s desire to help others and show care, or to be loved.
  • In this type of fraud, criminals establish a relationship with the victim over a long period of time before the fraud is carried out.
  • By spending plenty of time building the relationship, greater trust is built up, which is often reflected in the total amount for which the victim is defrauded.
  • The perpetrators are professional and cynical.
  • In Økokrim’s latest threat assessment, we said that it is very likely that the challenge of love fraud will persist.
  • In this type of fraud, contact often occurs on dating sites or via various applications, but also on gaming platforms and in social media.
  • The perpetrators create fake profiles where images are often stolen from real people, and in many cases portray themselves as military, doctors or from an organization such as the UN. The cover story is that they are stationed in a war zone.
  • With the help of social media and regular close contact in private channels, a story is built up that suggests the victim will send money.
  • Eventually, the “boyfriend” experiences various challenges and needs money to pay his way out of these problems. The amounts are usually small at the beginning, but gradually increase.
  • Victims are usually women aged 50–80 who have profiles in social media or on dating sites.
  • In several cases, victims are also exploited as money mules. (Money mules are those who receive money from one person and pass it on to another, either digitally or as cash, against payment.)

Source: Anne Allum, state prosecutor in Økokrim


Wants to warn

– Unfortunately, this is no longer special, says Rybak.

He hopes that telling the story can make people more aware of online scams and fake identities.

He says he has several times heard from others that they think someone is pretending to be him. One of these had been chatting with a fake Rybak for several months.

He has never reported these fake accounts to the police.

– Everyone must take responsibility and be careful when someone makes contact online, says the artist.

Rybak shows Kate around Akerselva. PHOTO: INGRID ELISE TROSTEN / NRK

Kate uses somewhat stronger words in her appeal:

– Don `t trust anyone! Be careful! I know it’s a dangerous world with dangerous people, but I’m a very trusting person.

– It’s crazy when you think you know someone, and they turn out to be the devil. But I don’t think a couple of bad people should destroy people. I don’t think we should let fear rule our lives. Says Rybak and adds:

– There is a difference between being afraid and being careful. We must continue to be kind to people.

NRK knows Kate’s full name, but has chosen to refer to her by her English nickname in this article.