I agree with Blink here and will say that physically you are safer in China than America. Violent crime is not tolerated here. But you are never safe from all the many scams and most of them come from job, visa, or travel agents. I got the below "RED FLAGS" from an expat web site that says this is how you know whether or not any agent is legitimate or just another scam...
1. Employees all use Chinglish names like “Peter Gao” or “Susan Liu”. These are fabricated ghost names that are virtually untraceable.
2. Their web site is less than a year old (or they don’t have one at all)
3. Their web site uses a .org or .cn domain.
4. Their web site contains no verifiable street address for their office.
5. Their web site has no land-line telephone number published – only disposable mobile numbers.
6. They demand copies of your passport before you receive a written job offer and sign a contract.
7. They cannot produce a color scan copy of their SAIC Chinese business license which can be verified on line.
8. They insist on meeting you in a coffee shop or your office – never their own.
9. They always fill out your visa application in Chinese so you cannot understand if they are lying or not.
10. They are not members of the BBB or any legitimate Chamber of Commerce. (if they are US-based)
11. They use disposable free emails like gmail, hotmail, sina, 163, qq, 126, yahoo, etc.
12. They claim there is someone else with your same name in the computer system and they need your taxpayer ID (SSN) to clarify for the Chinese visa bureau.
13. They tell you that you don’t need a Z visa right away and to just come to China on an L, F, or M, visa.
14. They offer to sell you a fake diploma and/or TEFL certificate, or FEC
15. They tell you that you have a job before you ever even interviewed with the school or director employer.
16. They never give email confirmations of verbal promises made to you.
17. They rush or pressure you to sign a contract giving a fake deadline that is only a few days away.
18. They ask you for the names and phone numbers of your teaching colleagues as a professional references. (They are later contacted and offered jobs in China)
19. No written job description with the name and school location is provided to you until after your arrive in China.
20. They ask for up-front money or a deposit of any kind.
21. They coach you how to lie when applying for your visa.
22. They tell you that the average wage for expats in China is 5,000-7,000 yuan per month.
23. They tell you that you must use a visa agent because the application process is very complicated and confusing and/or all the forms are in Chinese! (absolutely false).
24. That without a TEFL certificate it is impossible to find a teaching job in China that pays more than 5,000 Yuan per month.
25. That your China employer must hold your passport for a 3-6 month probationary period.
There is a blacklist at http://chinascampatrol.wordpress.com
Be careful people!