If you arrange that you pay for something, e.g. plane tickets, never send money, always buy yourself. Check for moneyback options.
Before you meet a person, talk to them using a video chat. You really start getting to know them when you see them.
A lot of people prefer to arrange their first meetings in public locations. It’s just easier this way.
Trust your gut. Always make sure you connect with your new friends and understand them.
Many travelers find it a good idea to inform their friends and/or family where they are going and possibly leave contacts of the person(s) they are about to meet.
Be a reasonable traveler. It’s smart and convenient to have emergency cash, a working mobile phone, and contacts of your nearest embassy.