Buying from first time seller

Every seller has a first time selling so this is nothing against first time sellers. Still, a positive rating inspires more confidence when buying than no rating at all. Is there any way to at least somewhat protect yourself when buying from a seller with no rating? I would assume that a direct wire transfer to a seller's account would provide at least some protection from complete fraud since the seller would have to go through at least some kind of identification process to establish their bank account and this would be discoverable in a criminal or civil case. I do not know if this assumption is true.
I would use Paypal, COD or local pickup. I would not pay with a wire transfer.

Your comments about a legal case may be true, but what you want is the item you purchased or your money returned.

Lawsuits are expensive other than small claims and those take time. Winning a lawsuit and collecting your money are two different things.
first time seller usually would set up paypal or any safe payment media where your funds are secure.
never mess around with direct wire transfer. it's the worst mistake and it will not be discoverable in a criminal or civil case.
paypal holds funds especially of first time seller for quite a while before they get released. they're released sooner in case you leave a positive feedback.
A wire transfer is not safe. Once the money is transferred, its gone. There's really nothing in place to help you in the event of any type of fraud. Assuming its not an international sale, I would pay a little extra and ship COD. Not only that, if you know your UPS or FedEx driver, they may let you open the box before you pay for it. They're not supposed to do that, but if you know them or they like you, they may overlook it. Another useful trick is to find out the shipping weight from the manufacturer. All packages are weighed when the shipper first gets the box. You can use the tracking number to find out what your package weighs before you get it. If there's a big difference, you may not want to accept the shipment.
I couldn't help but notice that you joined Audiogon today. Is this question about you? Paypal is the safest way for any transaction.
Paypal is definitely the safest route for you as a seller.
Now when I started trading on Audiogon what I did to help alleviate some veteran users fears here was in all my ads mention my feedback on other selling sites. On those ads I would also mention that even though I had little to no feedback I would treat the customer right. When I was buying an item I would make my offer and follow up with a message stating my seriousness to buy their item. It stinks being new but you can get through it with a bit of work.
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I wouldn't do it unless you could do a pickup. There are too many people out there who make a living by fraud. Not worth the grief. There is nothing this guy is selling that can't be gotten from somebody more reliable.
"06-16-14: Jedinite24
Paypal is definitely the safest route for you as a seller."

I used to believe that until they lost about $5000 on me. The only thing they were concerned with was that it wasn't their fault. After about a week of arguing they found the money that they never lost in the first place. It was never really clear as to what actually happened, but that was the last time I used them for anything.
Damn zd542. Wow $5K lost for a week. Holy Moly. Good to know. I've only done transactions under $1000 via Paypal.
Always tie a credit card to a paypal account. The credit card company makes the final decision not paypal. You have a right to ask for a chargeback if things aren't right. It's a shame things are like they are in this or any hobby. I guess some people feel there isn't enough hate and dishonesty in the world. Good luck
Paypal is the way to go unless you can exchange cash on local purchase. As for feeling safer with first-time seller, establish solid communication via telephone conversation concerning the sale. I have purchased many times from first timers. Haven't got burned yet. In fact my only burn was from a guy with a fair amount of perfect feedback. It was ten years ago and I never got my money back.
First timers are a PITA. They don't know how/when they're supposed to do stuff. "Gee, I was out of town and didn't know it sold." This for am amp that could have sold for $1,000+ - yeah, sure you were! And, yes PP holds the money for first timers.

Anyway, one thing I do is to video the unboxing, and tell them I'm going to do it.

And never PayPal for a local pick-up, no proof of delivery as far as PP is concerned as there's no tracking info.

Hope that helps...
I would like to see all sellers (of all classifieds sites preferably), stick a post-it note on the item for sale before taking photos. The post-it note should say the sellers public user name for the site, the site name (eg audiogon) and the date. If you are selling on multiple sites – do separate photos for each site.

If everyone did this, it would reduce the amount of fake listings. Its not perfect but at least you could reasonable believe they have the item they claim to have.
Plurn, Did you submit your legislature request?
"06-16-14: Jedinite24
Damn zd542. Wow $5K lost for a week. Holy Moly. Good to know. I've only done transactions under $1000 via Paypal."

Sorry, I just noticed that post. The amazing thing was that they went directly in to defense mode. "Its not our fault, Can't prove anything, We're not responsible". That type of stuff. They could care less about finding your money. Once they found out what happened, I withdrew everything in my PayPal account and closed it.
Czarivey, Obviously you can not enforce this idea everywhere or even just here. Rather than try and enforce it it could be "optional - but highly recommended". If a lot of sellers started doing it - say 5%, then it might catch on and buyers would start expecting it. Then buyers might ask untrusted sellers "can you please include a current post-it note 'proof of life' photo?". After a while it might just become normal. It could really be a benefit for all buyers and legitimate sellers.