Two very simple truths:
a. Don't waste your time initiating relationships that aren't going to thrive and benefit both sides.
b. Productive connection requires mutual trust. You can't empathize with someone you don't trust.
If you enter an engagement filled with wariness, alert for the scam, the inauthentic and the selfish, you'll poison the relationship before it even starts. Those you deal with won't be challenged to rise to your expectations of excitement and goodwill. Instead, they'll struggle in the face of your skepticism.
Instead of seeking and amplifying the sharp edges, consider focusing on the dignity and goodwill of the people you're working with.
Sure, there are people out there who will disappoint you. But expecting to be ripped off poisons all your interactions instead of saving you from a few dead ends.
An open mind and an open heart usually lead to precisely that in those that you are about to deal with. Perhaps we should give people a chance to live up to our trust instead of looking for the gotcha.