Safety

General

Is BeWelcome safe?

We are sometimes asked questions like: ‘How can I be sure that BeWelcome members are trustworthy?’ ‘What information will I have about my potential hosts or guests?’ ‘What is my protection against criminals coming to visit me?’

Any activity, including travel, carries some risk, but remember that you always have a choice about whether to accept a host or guest. BeWelcome offers several features to help you make informed decisions about who you think is trustworthy.

Some detailed arrangements may be easier through phone etc., but it is important to keep at least the initial messages and requests via the site. In that way, they are recorded on BeWelcome. This makes unsafe activities more difficult.

The member’s profile is the first place to find information about that person on BeWelcome. Essentially, it is a self-presentation and you should always keep this in mind. However, a profile can give you an impression of that person, how they present to others, and what their interests, preferences and quirks are.

A profile may also include comments from other members. These comments will tell you what experiences other members had with this person. However, when reading comments, please bear in mind that, for various reasons, many find it more difficult to write honest comments about a not-so-good experience than to write flattering comments about a good experience. Comments may therefore not always tell the whole story, or may never be written at all.

BeWelcome also has a Safety Team, that can investigate complaints, warn, and if necessary ban members with unsafe behaviour.

Please always remember that your safety relies on your own judgment and decisions. BeWelcome is there to help you make informed decisions about hosting/staying with other members and to support you in critical situations. While we do what we can to help you, we cannot take any responsibility for your personal actions and the final decision and responsibility for your safety is yours. If you are nervous about hosting or meeting someone, don't do it. Always use common sense in protecting yourself and your property.

Each member contributes to keeping our community as safe as possible by reporting abuse quickly in order to prevent it from spreading. If you become aware of a member abusing the services or displaying misconduct, please inform BeWelcome through the contact us form or by e-mail to safety@bewelcome.org and write a comment as appropriate to warn others who interact with that person.

For more information, please visit our Safety pages.

Read our general safety tips

Profile comments

What is the purpose of comments, and how do I submit a comment about another member?

The purpose of the comment system is to let the community know what kind of experiences others have had with a member. Sharing one’s experience helps other members assess whether they want to meet this person and if he or she is trustworthy.

It is important that members watch out for each other and keep the BeWelcome community safe. We therefore ask members to always write honest, factual comments about their experiences.

However, when reading comments, please bear in mind that for various reasons many find it more difficult to write honest comments about a not-so-good experience than to write flattering comments about a good experience. Comments may therefore not always tell the whole story, or never be written at all.

When writing comments for another member, ask yourself what information would have been useful for you or could be useful for others when deciding to interact with that person. If you need help with writing factual, honest comments, please contact us or send an e-mail to safety [at] bewelcome [dot] org.

To leave a comment about another member, go to the profile of that member. On the left side of the profile page there is a link called “Add Comment”. Click on that link, fill out the form and click on “Submit form” to publish your comment. Thank you for using this feature and helping other BeWelcome members make informed decisions!

Read the safety FAQ

Are there any rules or guidelines I should consider when writing a comment?

Yes, please read our Profile Comment Guidelines before writing comments.

Can comments be edited?

You can edit comments if for example you met somebody at a party first, but are their guest a couple of months later. We have decided to make negative comments unchangeable so they are very authentic and people trust in them. This is a matter of security in order to prevent recipients of negative comments to put pressure on the sender to get this comment changed. If you have some good reason for a negative comment to be changed or deleted you can contact us.

Spam and abuse

I found a profile that does not comply to the rules and the values of the site (e.g. there is a link to a pornographic website). Can you remove this?

Please send an abuse report through the contact us form or by e-mail to safety [at] bewelcome [dot] org and tell us the username of that member. We will contact the concerned member, and tell him/her to change his/her profile (delete that link). Links to pornographic web sites are often entered by a malware program running on the infected person’s computer. Whenever that person fills in a form on the internet and there is a field to enter a URL, this program enters the link automatically – so it’s not necessarily an abuse from that member. We will, however, keep an eye on them.

Can I stop messages from going to my e-mail account? For me it’s enough to read them on the website.

There are different types of messages on BeWelcome with different possible settings regarding the forwarding to your e-mail account:

  • Personal Messages: These are private messages from other members, for example requests to stay with you. To make sure that you always get these messages, even without logging on to the website, these messages will always be forwarded to your e-mail account. There is no possibility to opt out from receiving such messages. The idea of BeWelcome is to bring people together in real life and we consider a working e-mail account as one link to you in real life.
  • BeWelcome Newsletters: From time to time (usually every three months) we send out a newsletter about developments on BeWelcome and in hospitality exchange. These newsletters will only be sent to your e-mail account, not to your BeWelcome inbox. If you do not want to receive the BeWelcome newsletters, you can change your settings in your personal preferences accordingly: For the setting “I want to receive periodic news about BeWelcome by mail” choose “No” and then click on “Submit form” at the bottom of the page.
  • Notifications about local events: Sometimes, local volunteers may send out e-mails to local members about hospitality exchange events in the area. These notifications are not commercial, they are about BeWelcome events in your area or about hospitality exchange subjects. If you do not want to receive these notifications, you can change your settings in your personal preferences accordingly: For the setting “Notifications about local events” choose “No” and then click on “Submit form” at the bottom of the page.
  • Notifications from BeWelcome groups: If you are a member of one or more groups on BeWelcome, you might have chosen to receive notifications about new posts in your group(s) when you became a group member. To disable these notifications, go to the respective group page and choose “Member settings” from the sub menu below the group title. There you can choose “No” for the setting “I want to receive e-mail updates from this group”. Click on “Update member settings” to save your changes.
  • Notifications from the BeWelcome Forum: You might also receive messages from the BeWelcome Forum if you have subscribed to forum topics or tags. To review and change your forum subscription settings, please go to your “subscriptions page” and unsubscribe from the topics and tags you no longer want to be notified about (just click on the “Unsubscribe” button).