I have probably spent in the area of $5 thousand dollars on scams, I have been scammed by a lovely little Chinese lady re-selling video games, been scammed by Mexican rip off merchants for "turn-key websites" paid for products with title such as "become a millionaire in the next 15-minutes", gambling systems, affiliate courses, weight loss products, pills, powders and everything in between!
Over the years my experiences have turned me into one of the most suspicious people around, lol.
The good thing is, I have not lost any money to unscrupulous types in years.
Here is the quickest method's I use to find out whether I am going to pay hard earned money for something online that is not a well known physical product or something from a reputable vendor or merchant.
1. If it's too good to be true follow this rule and do not buy, instead run for the hills!
2. Reviews, I don't trust any review I read on the merchant/sellers sales page, this could be their own website or a third party page like fiverr, elance, their wso etc. Not because I don't trust reviews but because anyone publishing reviews for a product they are selling on their own sales page that they control is likely to never publish a negative review and will only ever publish glowing reviews, this is simple human nature.
3.Get your reviews from third party outlets or direct from the reviewer. Ask your group of social contacts, ask on forums, if your on a forum such as this one and someone posts that they have purchased XYZ product PM them and see what they say. Go to third party review sites and ask for a review etc. This one rule has saved me a lot of money!
4. Don't be afraid to ask questions. Don't be rude, but ask away. If the answer does not meet your expectations, do not buy. Never let them talk you into it if their initial answer does not meet your expectations, this doesn't necessarily mean they are out to scam you but maybe their product is just not right for you...
5. Never buy a product if you have UN-answered questions.
6.Never buy a product instantly. Always mull it over. I have read dozens of sales pitches and wanted to instantly buy, I slept on it and came back to it the next day with a different perspective. Do not forget that sales copy is designed word for word to make you want to buy!
7. Never buy on emotions. This ties into the above. If the copy is scaring you into buying, making you feel like it will be the end of the world if you don't buy now or making you dream of how your life will be if only you had XYZ product -DO NOT BUY! Instead tell the person who wrote the copy what a good job they did, lol! Take the advice from rule number 6 and sleep on it!
8. If it is a product designed to do something, does it do what it says it does? e.g. "Ab pro ninja 3000 will make your abs rock hard in 30 days and turn you into hunk zilla! All with only 30seconds per day" Does it do that? Have you confirmed this?
9. Never but a make money online (MMO) product if the seller can't show you
sufficient evidence to back up their numbers. Some people may disagree with me on this, sorry. Im not just talking about fake screen shots, I'm talking about real numbers such as profit and loss, revenue, over heads, fixed and variable costs, tax, etc. Legitimate people will provide this because they have nothing to hide. Think about the last wealth book you bought from a well known author, they all reveal their numbers, all of them! Its the same if you want to buy or sell a website on flippa, all of the merchants show you their figures, as does any other business that is for sale. Why should a digital product, ebook, course or anything else differ? It doesn't.
10. Never, ever, ever let anyone tell you that it's your mind set that is holding you back. Being positive or negative should have no effect on the outcome of XYZ products ability to do what it say's it will do. Many scam artists will tell you that you need to change your focus, be more positive etc. Let me tell you something, in science if something can be re-produced over and over and over again, it does not require the scientist to have a positive mind set or rely on psychology, meta-physics or anything else (unless of course it's one of those products e.g. a become more positive product) making money, getting fit, finding love all seem like subjective tasks but in reality there is a science to all of them!
11. If you are not satisfied ask for a refund! Even if they don't offer one, ask. Some states and countries have laws that govern the sale of products and services that state refunds, returns or replacements must be given or have osme other set of rules that specifiy what needs to happen if there is a dispute, seek assistance where available.
That is all I can think of right now.
This is what I use and how I go about buying products and services online and especially MMO products or non-physical ones.