The FTC has got 10 ways to protect yourself from international scam rings. The most important one has go to be to never deposit a check in your account with the agreement that you’re going to wire a portion of it elsewhere.
Don’t agree to deposit a check from someone you don’t know and then wire money back, no matter how convincing the story. By law, banks must make funds from deposited checks available within days, but uncovering a fake check can take weeks. You are responsible for the checks you deposit: When a check turns out to be a fake, it’s you who is responsible for paying back the bank.
Just never do that one thing and you’ll be protected from most international scams. For more tips, check out the FTC’s article.