Couchsurfing Horror Stories – What are the Risks of Couchsurfing?
“You’re staying round a stranger’s house who you met on the internet!? But you’ll get raped/murdered/converted to Scientology!”
The internet has changed a lot in the past 15 years, but several of the dangers of the late 90’s still remain.
With the recent explosion of the CouchSurfing phenomenon, the main question for travelers is “Is CouchSurfing safe?”
When people look into doing something new (such as bungee jumping, flying or riding a roller coaster) they often look into the what could go wrong and what ‘horror stories’ there have been related to what they’re doing.
So what are the horror stories of CouchSurfing? Are there any?
The simple answer is “Yes there are”. Or rather I should say “Yes there is”. A CouchSurfing horror story (singular) rather than horror stories (plural), as in all my researching I could only find one serious case.
Let’s take a look:
“On 5 March 2009 in Leeds, UK, a man named Abdelali Nachet raped a woman from Hong Kong who stayed at his place through the CouchSurfing project. Nachet was sentenced to 10 years inprison.” (Source: Daily Mail)
That’s pretty awful, but does this mean that CouchSurfing is unsafe? Well, despite there ‘only’ being one case of rape (that I could find), there are over 9.2 million members on CouchSurfing.org who have been vouched for by other members.
The people at CouchSurfing.org don’t hide from such tragic events (as what occurred in Leeds in 2009), and instead outline their safety policy very clearly.
Of course, what happened was partly due to CouchSurfing (as the victim was lured to the man’s house through the website), but one case in over 9.2 million isn’t bad going it has to be said, especially when you consider what could happen to you just by walking down the street.
If you have any doubts or want to know more, check out CouchSurfing.org’s safety policy.
As Mike Fried comments on TheExpeditioner.com
“I have been using CouchSurfing for a few years now and have never had a problem with any of my guests (or hosts for that matter).
I have heard some horror stories about people abusing CouchSurfing as a site and taking advantage of certain travelers. Whether those are freeloaders or people from the street, you still have to be cautious about how you interact with. That is pretty much a rule of thumb everyone should abide by when using the Internet to meet new people.“
Pretty solid advice there Mike.
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