We should get some stickies up for newbies. There are certain things to look for which should sound off some pretty loud alarm bells.
Here are some simple things one can do to protect oneself when dealing with any supplier (especially those found outside of SaleHoo).
1. Run a whois check on the supplier's website to verify when it was created (it is safest to deal with suppliers who have been online for at least a year), who owns the domain, and where the domain was registered (the country should match the contact details on the supplier's website).
2. Search the SaleHoo forum for the supplier's website/company name and see what other members have to say.
3. Call the supplier's telephone numbers to ensure they are genuine. Avoid suppliers with contact emails that are from any free email service (like yahoo, msn, hotmail and the likes).
4. Purchase a sample before bulk ordering to ensure that the item meets your expectations.
5. Watch out for sellers asking you to 'safeguard' your purchase by sending your money transfer in the name of a friend or loved one, or by establishing a 'test question'. These actions will not protect you from a fraudulent seller.
6. Low prices do not necessarily mean fraud, but radically low prices should warrant a closer look. If a price seems to good to be true, it probably is. Ask the seller as many questions about the item's authenticity as you can before you go any further.
7. Always use a credit card or Paypal to purchase goods. These forms of payment are safe because they give you a comeback if something goes wrong. With these payment methods, you can usually have the transaction reversed fairly easily if necessary.
These should help sound those alarm bells :)