With the internet at everyone's disposal, I was just wondering how safe the entire online space is for global clients, customer acquisition and hiring. If you know of any free tools or databases or methods to carry out really great background checks, reply! (Nobody wants to be scammed by a con artist, or be a victim to financial fraud nor carry business with a pervert of sorts, sitting in a different country altogether)
The easy answer is that no reliable background check tool is free. Those offering some free information are only going to provide details that you could find without their help. And then they will attempt to upsell you to a priced plan that gives you more information.
Also remember that you must comply with various laws about how the information is used, and who should be allowed access to that information.
When dealing with clients, establishing client credit is still usually done the old-fashioned way. You ask your client for other vendor references before issuing credit of your own. It's quite common, costs you nothing more than a phone call and a few minutes, and lets you ask the things that are important to you specifically. More likely you'll get better information this way than from using a service.
When dealing with employees, you are obligated to follow the laws under which such things are regulated, which vary widely from country to country. Your HR department or HR services provider should take responsibility for compliance. Remember HR's job is to know and follow all the rules and to handle the mechanics of employment. Their job is NOT to find candidates. These are two separate roles that are too often mistakenly conflated.