In truth, you will NEVER do a home exchange with a stranger.
By the time you search the site, find a Listing that interests you, trade emails, photos and phone calls, you know your exchange partner well enough that they are no longer considered a stranger.
You can also ask for references from previous home exchange partners, or only search for members who have done previous exchanges if that would give you a measure of comfort.
It's like a natural selection process, and the detail that is provided in the actual listings goes a long way to allowing the right kinds of people to find each other!
16th of May, 2011