Spotting a scammer, and how to protect yourself

I own a small start up cosmetics brand and I am currently trying to source high quality eyeshadow palettes from china. (Just the packaging, not the eyeshadow.) I was in contact with one, and received two really beautiful samples, however after doing more research on suppliers and learning about all the scams out there, I became a little suspicious. I found them off the web, and they did not have any verified accounts on global sources, or allibaba. We had originally agreed on paypal, but near the end she tried to talk me into T/T transfer, and she was also not able to give me any references. (Not sure if that's an even an issue now, as I never have found a supplier who will.)

I decided to bail on that supplier, tracked down another one who was verified on alibaba and global sources, and I was even able to track down someone in the states who used them and gave a rave review. I just received a sample from them, and they are terrible. Not even close to the quality of the other supplier.

I am really considering going back to the other supplier now and taking my chances. But I came here to see if you all have some advice on protecting myself incase something goes awry. I have heard that as long as you pay through paypal with a credit card, if you don't receive the items you can dispute it on two different levels. Is this true? Are there some red flags I could look for in the supplier to see if maybe there is something suspicious about them? I am totally new to this, and though I want to be careful, I don't want to be overly suspicious and find a problem where there isn't one. Any tips would be greatly appreciated. This is the supplier with the good product I am thinking about using:

Thanks so much in advance!