By CHESTER ROBARDS
Tribune Senior Reporter
A MONEYGram agent in the Bahamas may have lost hundreds of thousands of dollars this weekend as a result of its system being hacked, The Tribune understands.
Harvey Morris, managing director of MoneyGram, Omni Transfers, explained that the agent's system was likely hacked by someone residing outside of the Bahamas. He said his own system was not directly affected, but did not know which agent's system was.
However, he said the effect of the breach of security was that MoneyGram set a cap of $400 on wire transfers on all their local agents this weekend until the threat was secured.
"It's the first time I have seen MoneyGram implement such draconian measures," said Mr Morris.
"So it is evident that something went drastically wrong for them to have done that."
While Mr Morris said he could not say exactly how much money might have been involved in the scam, one source said the loss could have been in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Mr Morris contended: "It must have been pretty severe."
He explained that Bank of the Bahamas and Cash 'N Go are also Money Gram agents.
"One of the agents, not our office, had a problem which resulted in MoneyGram having to take some action and change limits able to be sent from the Bahamas," he said.
According to Mr Morris, the hackers likely used the agent's system to send false money transfers that would be charged to the agent.
He said this weekend was not the first time individuals have attempted to hack into their system. However, he explained that he was surprised that someone was successful.
"I'm a bit surprised to see that this has taken place," said Mr Morris.
"There have been various attempts to get into the system and this has happened for years.
"We've been in the business for six years and seen several attempts like this."
He revealed that MoneyGram sends its agents regular fraud alerts in order to curtail any attempt on its systems.
One source claimed that "fraudsters have been calling Moneygram agents in the Bahamas claiming to be officers of MG International and directing them to bogus websites that look identical to the MG website. The agents are then directed to download software which compromises their system."