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My buddy the other day actually made a newer member ship the item before he paid for it, just because he had no feedback.
I personally like to have faith in the NS community. I use Paypal, and if/when I get screwed, I'll deal with it accordingly. You can usually tell who's a scammer and who's not though.
Just post lots of pictures, write coherently, and be fair. In the pictures, include a piece of paper with your NS username and the date - that way potential buyers know what they're looking at.
I agree with you, it is hard as a new member to gain that legitimate status. In addition to just buying/selling feedback, post around the forums and get known around the site. Making friends here is great if you want to fit in and gain a level of trust. If a member is seen a lot around the forums, such as myself or asian_allen, for examples, a buyer will be much less skeptical.