Where ever business is done, fraudsters are not far away. You’ll get scammed if you have to trust to someone met over the internet. Make in each case a background check of your future business partner.
If you get the offer by using a professional membership site like LinkedIn and the profile has no picture from a real person uploaded then forget the offer. You even need not continue using this script. The possibility that you got the offer from a scammer is in this case already 99%. Only scammers are in need to hide themselves in the anonymity of the Internet.
Start with the picture search if a picture of your business partner is provided. It is easy if you are using Google Chrome for browsing. Put your mouse pointer over their profile picture and by doing a right click chose “Search Google for this image”. If you don’t have this option then you can save the image at your local hard disk (right click at the image and chose “Save image as..” from the context menu). Afterwards you go open http://images.google.com, click at the camera symbol and upload your picture. Google is able to take a picture from an url too, but it has no access to some membership sites.
Don’t let yourself get fooled from the result set, because you will also get the same picture with the name from their followers on the social networks and even from similar pictures (googles computers are thinking that the picture is looking similar).
Try to find negative comments and the use of different names in the profile on other sites used for the person shown at the picture. Most of the scammers are using pictures found at the internet, which are showing important persons or celebrities.
If your search has been negative until now, then continue with the real domain name of your business partner. Use the email domain or the link, which they have sent you. Use http://www.scamadviser.com for checking their domain reputation. If the given postal contact address is not matching with the registered domain name or they are using an anonymizing service for the domain name, then your business partner has something to hide. Real companies are proud about their products and their name is their trademark. For this they will not hide themselves in the anonymity of the Internet. Only scammers are hiding themselves.
Locate the place or the area of the world from where they have sent you an email. For this you need to consult the documentation of your email client or you use Google to find out the way how to get the Internet email headers for your email client. In the Internet email headers is the way described which the email has taken. Simple copy the Internet email headers into the form shown at the free online tool found at http://mxtoolbox.com/EmailHeaders. You get a route list, which the email has taken on it way with the ip addresses.
You can check the location of this ip addresses by using the free site http://www.iplocation.net/. The location shall match the promoted location and country of your communication partner. Be aware, that the location can be the next larger city next to the address of your communication partner.
If you have did not find something negative about your new business partner, then you should continue with using Google search.
Google has few search options, which can help you to find something out about your new business partner. This search will take a lot more time. Search for the name of your business partner, the name of his company in all possible combinations.
Search with an exact phrase:
Put quotation marks around words "[any word]" to search for an exact phrase in an exact order. Keep in mind that searching with quotes might exclude relevant results. For instance, a search for "Alexander Bell" will miss pages that refer to Alexander G. Bell.
I use this function for searching names and domain names of my business partner. Especially by searching a specific domain name is it very helpful. Scammer sites are getting very fast documented by others and you are able to review their comments.
Search within a specific site:
Precede your query with site: if you know you want your answer from within a specific site or type of site (.org, .edu). For example: site:edu or site:nytimes.com.
As you can search inside a specific site, you can exclude specific sites, by excluding them. To exclude them from the result set you need only put a dash in front. Example -site:linkedin.com for not listing all the contacts from LinkedIn
Find related pages:
Use the related: operator to find pages that have similar content by typing related: followed by the website address. For instance, if you find a website you like, try using related:[insert URL] to locate similar websites.
In any case, even if you did not find out something bad about your new business partner, you should take the lowest possible risk for making business. Sorry, but a perfect instruction for not getting scammed is not available. Think every time that even companies cannot give you money for doing nothing. Every offer, which seems too good to be true, is only scam. So don't turn off your brain if you get a very good offer. Don’t get greedy. One side wins in each in each business, which is done. It is the seller - otherwise he would not sell it.
Other Fraud Warning Sites
A list of proved scammer can get found in the menu entry Scammer Exposed.
Offers from trusted and validated brokers can get found in the menu entry Fair Campaign Offers.