Couchsurfing Horror Stories – What are the Risks of Couchsurfing?

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“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.

BewareThe 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.

For more information, check out these articles:


Related posts:

  1. What is CouchSurfing?
  2. How to Create the Perfect CouchSurfing Profile




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  • Anon

    My first CS experience was great. My host was super and hospitible. On a recent trip I had a strange experience. My male host seemed nice and accomodating; almost overly, he paid for dinner and groceries and only once let me pay part of the bill. We had great conversations and everything seemed normal until bedtime. We shared his studio; I slept on his couch next to his bed and I was disturbed in the middle of the night by deep breathing and what sounded like him masterbating. I’m relieved that it was just that rather than being raped. It was traumatic. From now on I will only stay with female hosts to avoid all potential problems and keep safe.

    Tips: avoid staying with guys who have only hosted females or don’t stay there alone. If they compare you to a beautiful celebrity within an hour of meeting that’s probably a bad sign.

  • Lady

    When i was searching for a room i had a lot of bad experiences. There were lots of man abusing the fact that girls needed a room to stay. After those bad experiences i decided to only rent a house from a cooperation. Ten years ago for me it ended in a situation that i was locked up in a house, raped and constantly threatened that he wanted to murder me too. I didn’t think he would let me go alive. That has changed my life in a very bad way. It still feels that even when i’m still alive, i died that day. These things didn’t happen while couchsurfing but i think that it’s comparable. After all i been through i would say ; never go into a house of a stranger, or invite a stranger. There are lots of cheap hotels and it’s not worth the risk.

  • http://www.facebook.com/darkliife Romita Dey

    I just had a TERRIBLE experience with a couch surfer who hosted me and my friend in New Delhi for 5 days. Now, from day one I

    felt that something was wrong and I advanced my date of departure by 24 hours just because the moment i went inside the

    house, I knew something was going to happen. Ok so everything was fine for 2-3 days, on the 4th day the host and my friend

    were drinking and I joined them for some talks….(I did not drink), …it was nothing offensive….but that was the first

    time I really talked to the host….I was always aloof and formal…I did not feel like even smiling at him although he gave

    us a separate room and everything…

    So now the real story starts…..I left that place on 6th Aug and my friend came to the station to see me off….the host had

    left in the morning and I did not see him on that day…..I sent him an sms thanking him for everything…

    After 3-4 hours I got an sms from the guy stating that I had STOLEN some jewelry from his house and that he had proof !!!!!!

    I was SO SHOCKED that I actually thought he was JOKING!! I sms-ed him back saying I didnt steal anything and that he should

    stop accusing me. He replied back saying I was playing games with him!!! He also said he has had such experiences before??

    What does that mean??? Couchsurfers have stolen stuff from his house before?? If yes then WHY did he host us???

    The real SHOCKER was the next call I got from my friend ! SHE was supporting him ! I asked her whaT PROOF they had and she

    said nothing….she just told me to return the jewelry. I sent an sms asking the guy to send police to my house if he wants

    to because I have nothing to hide. I M NOT A THIEF !!

    As soon as I reached home I saw that there was a missed call from my friend ! I called her back and this time she accused me

    of stealing her money!! I reminded her that she had stayed with me for like 3 days and she had lost NOTHING ! She told me “I

    cant hear you” and hung up….I sent her a detailed message saying that she stayed at my house so freaking peacefully and

    suddenly I turned into a thief as soon as I went to Delhi???

    I am goin to file an FIR with the police

    I have reported the host to the CS system as well though I dont know whether they will take any action….

  • Onewomansvoice4change

    I recently came out about being taken advantage of by a man I met through Couchsurfing. I included other potential predators I had come in contact with in my story. I am now being denied my voice by Couchsurfing because one of these predators happens to be a moderator. He had my reference removed. They are trying to silence me. This cannot be allowed, because if it is happening to me, it is happening to women everywhere. http://dangersofcouchsurfing.blogspot.com/2012/11/the-dangers-of-couchsurfing.html#!/2012/11/the-dangers-of-couchsurfing.html