Dragons are extremely protective of their nest. They are certainly not famous for taking aggressive actions against them or their loved ones lying down, and Duncan Bannatyne, the multi-millionaire entrepreneur and business investor on Dragons Den, is certainly no exception.
In a story that is reminiscent of a Hollywood action-thriller plot and broadcast through Twitter, we are learning about the lengths some people will go to for money and how others respond.
This week an anonymous Twitter user threatened Duncan Bannatyne. In fact, he threatened to seriously harm Hollie Bannatyne, Duncan’s daughter, if he did not receive a payment of £35,000 from Duncan.
Duncan’s response was first to take the matter to the police, but then he mobilised his 370,000 Twitter fans to seek information on the person behind the serious threats. And also to offer a £30,000 reward to anyone providing information that would lead to his arrest.
Bannatyne Offers a Reward
Apparently, according to an FT article by Tim Bradshaw, Duncan said the reward was “£25,000 reward for the capture of the coward … Double if his arms are broken first“. This was amended to make the reward in line with British law.
Various people have posted links to social networking profiles which are believed to be the person behind the threats. You can follow some of the events on Duncan’s Twitter page: https://twitter.com/#!/DuncanBannatyne
Some people were critical of how he reacted, but apparently he informed the police immediately and has ensured that there is added protection for his daughter now.
Hopefully these are just empty threats but it certainly must have worried his whole family. Every parents nightmare is to have their children threatened in such a way.
Police Start Investigating The Twitter Threats
The BBC have reported that the police are investigating the threats, they are taking it very seriously. The threats came in via email as well as Twitter and have now been several in number. So far investigations have traced the threats to an email address that is hosted in Russia, possibly in Moscow, from someone called Yuri Vasilyev. Several social networking profiles have been shared but these all appear to be fake users or at least only hold limited information.
This is really the first main news we have heard of how people are using social networking in a more negative and criminal way. For years web security experts have been advising people to be careful with what they share online and yet many people fail to consider the threats. As one security expert once said to me,
“it is not the known threats that you should be worried about as you can mitigate against those, it is the unknown threats that should concern you”.
This certainly ranks as a previous unknown threat. You have to ask yourself, are you safe online? What information do you share? Could someone trace you and threaten you?
For celebrities anonymity is extremely hard but for the rest of us it should be doable. Some suggestions for staying safe online include anonymising your domain registrations (i.e. so that your address is not shown), keeping social networking profiles to a minimum, especially when it comes to family. Consider have business and personal accounts, and make sure they never cross. Also using virtual office postal addresses is a must if you run a successful website from home.
Stay safe, stay online!