Use a credit card whenever possible. The Fair Credit Billing Act gives you 60 days from the date you receive your bill to contest a charge. Read your credit card agreement -- some credit cards offer even more time to contest a charge. If you realize you are the victim of a scam and act quickly you can dispute the charge and avoid losing your money.
Avoid paying in cash. If you must pay in cash demand a receipt for proof of payment. Paying with a credit card might mean paying interest charges, but it offers you the most protection if something goes wrong – you can contest the charges.