Welcome Julie, glad to have you aboard the forum!
If you're just starting out, one thing you might want to do is jump over to Fred Miranda.com and check out their Forum which has a buy/sell section where many photographers are selling their used equipment. Another place that I buy 90% of my stuff is POTN which stands for Photography on the Net. This also has a buy/sell forum and you will be amazed at the great deals you'll find on there. POTN is strictly Canon, which is why I suggested Fred Miranda first as that forum has a bit of everything to choose from.
If you're just starting out, a Canon Rebel or moving up to a 30D would be a great body that you would get years of use from and would allow you to learn with. I've been shooting since I could hold a camera, and have had both of these bodies and love them. I still have the 30D and use it daily as it is the main workhorse in my photography.
You can find used ones all day long for under $600 and many will come with some accessories or the kit lens which is a 18-55mm. This is a fine lens to start with and will cover your wide angle needs up to a medium telephoto. You'll not find it ver useful for nature/wildlife photography as it wont get you close to the subject, unless in a barnyard setting where you can walk right up to the animals...LOL
Cameras are much like computers these days and the price seems to constantly come down while the quality continues to go up. So going out and buying something brand new is somewhat of a waste as the next model will be out in 6 months and have all the things you wished your new camera had. This is one reason why I buy all my stuff used off the forums. It allows me to buy many more things, and saves me a ton of money. I've NEVER been burned with buying anything and not having it perform as stated in the thread I purchased it from, so I wouldnt be too worried about getting scammed. That's what Ebay is for
Good luck, and I look forward to seeing what you get and your contribution to the forum.