About Justin Recla

Justin Recla has over 13 years experience and advanced training with the US Army and federal government. He is a subject matter expert in tactical questioning, surveillance, counter espionage, threat and vulnerability assessments, and investigative techniques. He is an educator in concepts of effective communication and has taught hundreds of future federal agents how to conduct interviews and investigations. Justin brings his skills from the military sector and delivers them to the boardroom to help business owners protect their two most valuable assets: Time & Money.

The nitty gritty with the founder of Itty Bitty Books, Suzy Prudden.

Look Who’s in The CLEAR! Listen in as we discuss the nitty gritty with the founder of Itty Bitty Books, Suzy Prudden. Suzy Prudden has an amazing story of Rags to Riches, Riches to Rags and back again. Listen in as Suzy discusses her journey from the Oprah Winfrey Show and how she is helping others share their own stories through Itty Bitty Books.

In The CLEAR: Michael White Ryan of The Language of Space

Look Who’s in The CLEAR! Listen in as we discuss transparency with Michael White Ryan of The Language of Space Having an energetic work environment is essential for building a successful business and attracting the right clients. It takes more than just hanging a few trinkets on the wall. Hiring the right experts to create the space for you will accelerate your business and personal growth.  

What do Companies Check in a Background Check

Background checks are not all they are not what you think. Listen in as we explore the areas background check companies cover and how they are not applicable to business transactions.  

US Fraud affects more businesses every year

In 2014, Small Businesses lost $3Billion dollars to Fraud. If you have less than 100 employees you are 28% more likely to fall victim to fraud. Make sure you're in The CLEAR and listen in as we discuss how to protect yourself from fraud.

Tips to Avoid Scams

Listen in as we discuss Tips to Avoid Scams. Before you lose time of money, make sure your business is In The CLEAR!

In the CLEAR with Rebecca Victor

Rebecca Victor is a transformational life coach, motivational speaker and facilitator who talks on a variety of subjects designed to inspire and ignite audiences to live greater, bolder and more fulfilling lives. Listen in to learn what it means to be authentic in business and in life!  

In The CLEAR with Dale Richards

He has started over 35 tech companies and travels up to 35 weeks of the year educating and training business owners, CEO's and startups on how to build a business. He is a business valuation expert and can help you grow your business. Listen in as we talk with Dale Richards of Excel Management Systems.

In The CLEAR with Aaron Young

  Business success stems from experience. Experience shows that transparency always builds trust. Listen in as we talk to Aaron Young, the CEO of Laughlin USA and discuss transparency and trust in business today.

In the CLEAR with the Awakened CEO, Paul Hoyt.

  The business world has changed. Having the right strategist on your team who understands how business growth and personal growth are connected is essential to your success. Listen in as we have an “Enlightened” conversation with Paul Hoyt.    

In The CLEAR with Dollars and Sense Bookkeeping

  For small businesses, doing the books every month can be time consuming. Listen in as we speak with Elmer Howard of Dollars and Sense Bookkeeping on how outsourcing your books actually saves you time and money.      

How to do due diligence before hiring a business.

When we started off in this world, coming out of government, we saw that there really was no process for vetting businesses. What’s interesting is that all of us are trained to expect some sort of screening process or due diligence process when it comes to employment. That’s a given. You fill out the application, you know they will check references (or they should, of course). Maybe it’s not the best system. What we didn’t see was a system for how to look into businesses before hiring them.   You go to a business’s website; if they have one, they must be a legitimate company. Maybe you pick up the phone to call somebody, and you’ll hire them for something you need. That doesn’t always work. It’s a throwback to the good old days. We had the Yellow Pages or the Mom and Pop shops. With the advent of the [...]

Should you concern yourself with the most recent scams

As a business owner should you concern yourself with the most recent scams? As business owners, our time is limited, and the time that we do have is dedicated to growing our businesses. The first thing you need to stop and ask yourself is, “Where do you want to spend your time and energy?” Now, in the defense of business owners who have approached us with this,, when they find out what we do and everything we know then they hear about The CLEAR Business Directory they feel like they are being irresponsible if they are not on top of those scams. It’s kind of like people who watch the news all the time because they want to be informed. I get it. I do applaud the desire to be informed. A lot of it is where you want to spend your time and energy. Where people get confused is [...]

In The CLEAR with Jason Webb

    Having the right attorney to protect your Intellectual Property is one of the most important steps you can take for your business. Listen in as Jason Webb provides some useful insights to making sure your Intellectual property is protected.    

Methods for Avoiding Fraud

What are the best methods for going for avoiding fraud? We here this question all the time. It’s kind of funny because everyone that always ask this question is typically in business. And by their very nature, business owners and entrepreneurs are risk takers. Business owners and entrepreneurs have a different risk aversion level than most people. Because of such, whenever an opportunity comes along, we want to stop and ask ourselves: Is this an opportunity? Because business owners and entrepreneurs are risk takers, oftentimes, they don’t do their due diligence. Essentially, the question comes down to: How do you determine a fraud from an opportunity? They are similar. We get asked this question all the time. People will say, “Hey, I got presented with this opportunity. What do you think?” There are some simple things you can do. Of course, we incorporate everything from our experiences and our intuitive [...]

How to Report a Scam

How do you report a scam? Before I begin, let me put on my “other hat” on here for a second. I deal with personal power and empowering people and existence in their businesses. I love this topic because I see so often people immediately want to jump to calling something a fraud or a scam. A lot of times, it’s simply a mater of it didn’t work out like they wanted. What we’re discovering is that it is often avoidable. Especially if you do your due diligence. And on top of that, we see so much miscommunication. Folks, we’ll be honest. We have been business owners for a while now. We get it. There is a lot going on. There are parts of your business that you’re not sure how to do, so you look for another business to outsource it or bring on as a consultant to guide [...]

How to perform due diligence before hiring businesses

With an over abundance of self-proclaimed experts on the internet performing your due diligence before hire a business is even more crucial to your business success. Listen in as we discuss how to perform due diligence before hiring a business.

In The CLEAR with Social Media Expert – Ken Rochon

  Listen in as Ken Rochon sheds some light on the Social Media Industry and what it means to deliver results. Ken is the co-founder of the Umbrella Syndicate and an expert at creating viral campaigns on social media. Check out Ken’s profile in The CLEAR Business Directory.  

Do you need to run a business credit check as part of your due diligence?

The idea of a business credit check is a confusing topic to most people. It’s not a well-known idea in all honesty. The quick answer is “it depends”. It depends on why you’re doing due diligence. Let’s say you’re doing it in the realm of business, obviously. But it depends on what the deal is. If you’re looking to bring on somebody to do a website for you and you’re just outsourcing the service, a business credit check is pretty insignificant in that decision-making process. You need to know if they can build the website that you need them to build. That doesn’t have anything to do with a credit check. So here are three points to help you make a decision if you should do a business credit check: 1. Identify the situation Let’s say you do have a situation where it is applicable, such as a merger acquisition. [...]

Four secrets background check companies don’t want you to know

There are four big secrets background check companies don’t want you to know. 1. They are not magical. Background check companies pull from public records, and those public records depend on databases.  If the database is not up to date because an individual hasn’t lived in an address for a certain period of time, that information is not going to show up. 2. Overemphasizing importance of Criminal Checks Criminal Check One of the things background checks look are criminal records.  The problem with doing a background check solely for criminal records is that criminal records are only good if the person has been caught. More importantly, not every single state reports up to a national criminal database. Colorado, for example, is one of those states and does not report to the national database. Local agencies within certain states don’t even report up to the state level. As such you would [...]

How to Avoid Being a Victim of Consumer Fraud

 There is a simple process you can use to avoid being a victim of consumer fraud. If you implement this process before making any purchasing decision, you can avoid a loss of time or money and huge headaches in the process. Step 1: Think As silly as it may sound, people tend to make purchases without really knowing what they’re buying. And people who engage in frauds and scams KNOW THIS. They bank on people not paying much attention to what they’re doing. It’s much easier than it sounds to get pulled into an emotional or impulse purchase situation without fully understanding the offer. Moreover, with the advent of online shopping, it’s difficult to know if you will actually receive anything once you make the purchase. It’s super easy to create fictitious purchasing sites with falsified reviews. Whenever possible, make sure you only purchase from legitimate, verified sites. Step 2: [...]

In The CLEAR with 3D Printing Experts – Tom & Tracy Hazzard

  Listen in to 3d printing experts Tom & Tracy Hazzard. Tom and Tracy have designed over 200 products to include products found in COSTCO. Listen in as they discuss 3D Printing and what it means to operate a Transparent Business. Check out their profile in The CLEAR Business DirectoryTM.  

Instead of a criminal search, what else can I do to look into a business?

There is so much more you can do when looking into a business, especially since a criminal search is not applicable to every business. The answer gets into the mechanics of how you do due diligence and what due diligence looks like looks like. Here are some other things you can do when looking into a business Look at the business history. Often times people won’t stop and take a look at the business history and how long a business has been doing something. Now, take into consideration, that sometimes you will come into contact with a business that is in start-up mode. They may have only been in business for six months. That’s fine. When we first got started, we had no business experience, but we had transferable skill sets and experience that translated over into what we were doing. You can take a look at somebody’s employment history [...]

In The CLEAR – First Podcast

In a world where frauds and scams can be disguised as legitimate opportunities and anyone can be a self proclaimed business expert who do you trust? Before you invest time or money…listen in to make sure your business is in The CLEAR. Justin and Tonya Dawn Recla are Army veterans and former government agents who bring over 20 years of combined counterintelligence experience to the business world. They established Avent-GuardTM due diligence and vetting solutions and created The CLEAR Business DirectoryTM.   The CLEAR Business DirectoryTM allows members to operate in full transparency and to proactively address any potential reputation issues that may exist. For the first time, business owners can make sure potential partners, investors, or service providers are who they say they are and can do what they say they can do.

One of the Most Recent Scams Involved Fox News

One of the most recent scams was a news story involving Fox News. “Arrested on fraud charges and falsely claiming to be a CIA operative, Wayne Shelby Simmons has been caught feeding disinformation to Fox News for over a decade.”  (Source http://thefreethoughtproject.com/fake-cia-agent-fox-news-claimed-19-paramilitary-islamic-training-camps-operating-u-s/#VKr6KHWpiXf6ebee.99) That’s 10 years of news stories that have been completely discredited. That’s 10 years of credibility out the window all because Fox News hired a self-proclaimed expert who turned out to be a fraud.  How did this happen?  Fox did not do ANY due diligence. The fact of the matter is that something like “worked for the CIA” is fairly easy to verify. Especially for an organization like Fox News. More importantly, working for the CIA is SUPER EASY to fake when you know no one is ever going to check on it. The news organization bought into the the lies Simmons told them and didn’t bother verify any [...]

What happens if you discover derogatory information during a criminal history check?

First off, we advocate for a self-disclosure process prior to doing any kind of vetting or due diligence on somebody. The reason for that is it gives them an opportunity to tell you what may or may not be in their background. Then when you go about the process, if you discover something, the first thing you do is see if they have disclosed it. If it was not disclosed, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re lying to you. It may be that they are not aware that information is out there, depending on how far back it was or how inconsequential. Let’s say it was a pretty significant deal and they didn’t disclose it to you. Now you have information you can go back to them with and say, “This is what we uncovered in our due diligence process. Can you give us more information about this?” Again, in total [...]

Fraud Detection on Facebook

Fraud detection on Facebook can be  easy,  especially if you  know how to look for the signs. Fraud detection becomes even harder when the person you are connecting to appears to have multiple friends in common. Here are ten things to help you identify potential fraud on Facebook: 1. You receive a friend request from someone you never met. 2. You receive a friend request from someone who appears to have common friends. 3. After accepting the friends request, the person engages you in conversation that has nothing to do with your business. 4. The conversation moves from business to personal conversation very fast. 5. The person makes up some unreal story (i.e. they’re a secret agent or an undercover reporter in the middle east, etc.) 6. The person only has one or two pictures on their profile. 7. The person appears to have no history of posting on their [...]

Background Check Companies – The 3 Reasons Why You Should NEVER do a background check

With the slew of background check companies online it can be easy to get swayed into paying for what appears a quick and easy answer to your hiring problem. However,  as a business owner you should never do background checks. Sounds kind of funny coming from the due diligence people, right? But the biggest misconception about who we are and what we do at Avent-Guard is that “we perform background checks” for businesses. Nope, we don’t. Matter of fact we advocate AGAINST solely doing background checks because they are unreliable. There are so many factors that go into what a background check is and what it’s not that I won’t waste your time explaining them all. Here is a few reasons why you should not do background checks 1. Not all government and law enforcement agencies are required to report information. For that matter most are not required to have [...]

Fraud Protection Through Transparency…The New Way of Doing Business

Fraud protection through transparency is the new way of doing business. Let’s face it…the old ways of doing business are dying. Long gone are the days of hiding information or passing a sub-par service off as legitimate. Your clients know when something doesn’t seem right, they feel it just as you do when you engage with someone who isn’t being authentic. Today’s customer looks for businesses that operate within some sort of ethical code, moral based system, or have a foundation of social entrepreneurism. It’s simple really… people want to connect. They’re looking for authenticity and they want to know they can trust the businesses they engage. People are tired of getting ripped off and they’re tired of giving money to the wrong people. They want to know who is behind the business, what they stand for, and if they operate in integrity. Yes, your clients still want value, [...]

How to do a Background Check: Where the Spy World meets the business world – Understanding Due Diligence.

I is important to understand that even if you know how to do a background that background checks do NOT constitute full due diligence. The concept of due diligence is vast, obscure and overwhelming. Most of our clients privately confess to us that they only have a vague idea of what due diligence means and absolutely NO idea how to do it. Sound familiar? If so, don’t worry, you’re in good company. Most people throw around the term due diligence and claim they do it, but secretly hope no one ever asks them specifics about it. Most never really understand what it is, when to do it, where to look for information, who to trust to do it, etc. and so on. BusinessDictionary.com defines due diligence as: “The duty of a firm's directors and officers to act prudently in evaluating associated risks in all transactions.” What we have discovered is [...]

How to do Background Check: What Business Can Learn From Government Failures

All the training in the world and all of the information on how to do a background check won't protect your business. The government does background checks and they don't work. As you may recall the Office of Personnel Management had a major security breach in June, affecting 14 million individuals who hold security clearances. A recent Business Insider Article titled “The US agency plundered by Chinese hackers made one of the dumbest security moves possible” covers some of the major issues that led to the breach of information. The article points out some “common sense” security practices, such as basic data encryption, that were overlooked by OPM. But encryption was not the biggest failure…not doing any due diligence on the service provider is what ultimately brought about the security breach. Did they do a background check? Most likely. Did they fully vet the people, definitely no. The article highlights [...]

Avoiding Business Fraud with Confidence

Business fraud is easily prevented when you do your due diligence. However, the concept of Due Diligence is both confusing and terrifying to most business owners. People constantly come up to us and, in hushed, confidential tones, confess they have no idea how to do due diligence for their business. They’re typically scared of trusting the wrong person, but they don’t know how to make sure to find the right one. That’s where we come in. By demystifying the due diligence process, we empower business owners to take control of their decision-making process and operate with confidence. We help them verify that the people they involve in their business are who they say they are and can do what they say they can do. This minor tweak to their business approach changes EVERYTHING. Imagine this scenario: Your business needs a new website. You open the yellow pages, contact your network [...]

Types of Fraud: Vulture Capital vs. Venture Capital

There are all different types of fraud business owners should look for. However, when your looking to raise capital, fraud is typically the last thing on your mind. That's because raising capital is exciting. Having the money to fuel your business is an entrepreneur’s dream. The reality of the matter is there are scammers, fraudsters, and “opportunities” out there that prey on entrepreneurs raising funds. We call these types of people “Vulture Capitalist.” Getting involved with a Vulture Capitalist is one of the fastest ways to lose your dream. Here’s how to recognize Vulture Capital: The opportunity requires sizable money up front. This is ALWAYS a red flag. If you have to pay money up front before you actually receive ANY capital, then buyer beware! If you owe money up front in the form of a “finder fee,” a “funding fee,” a “service fee,” etc…then you’re at risk of being [...]

Who’s Protecting Your Business?

You have a security alarm installed to protect the valuables in your home, but what kind of protection do you have for your valuable business? Partners, investors, employees… All sorts of people come and go in your business. Maybe you’ve found out the hard way, but not everyone is who they say they are. Not everyone is on the up-and-up. And not everyone can be trusted. Wouldn’t it be great if you could tell ahead of time whether someone is worthy of your trust? Wouldn’t it be great if you knew before you let in the wrong people who “robbed you blind?” Getting involved with scamsters and frauds can be incredibly expensive , it could even cost you your entire business. Trusting people without doing proper due diligence is taking a gigantic – and totally unnecessary business risk. You deserve to know exactly who you’re dealing with and whether they’re [...]

What Does Enlightenment Have To Do With Your Business? EVERYTHING!

I get it. The title of this post doesn’t immediately connect to Due Diligence. But trust me when I say the connection is clear, distinct and extremely significant for your business. Things they are a-changing. If you don’t see this in your particular business sector, look again. Since the onslaught of social media, peer review sites, internet marketing and the global village, business-as-usual ceased to exist. The statement, “The only constant is change,” has never been more true. And it’s affecting your bottom line. Everyone knows this. And everyone’s scrambling trying to provide THE solution to riding these waves of change. But the one topic I hear discussed only in backrooms and mastermind circles is Enlightenment. Call it what you will: awareness, consciousness, intuition, energy, super-hero powers, whatever; it all results in the same thing. Your clients, customers, industry partners, competition, vendors, and team members are tuning in and turning [...]

How do you communicate?

Your business relationships depend on your ability to effectively communicate your needs, your goals and your vision. Knowing what questions to ask and understanding how people process and internalize communication is THE essential element for business success. Avent-Guard™ provides the tools and tips on how to verify the information you are given so you can protect yourself and your business.