From: HR/Payroll Department Contacts [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Janet P Walker
Sent: Monday, June 09, 2014 12:17 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Instant HR/Payroll: Phishing Incident, Mason Star, ICMA-RC Individual Consultations, Eldercare Resource and Referral, Staff Senate Accepting Nominations, and Some Reminders on Faculty Leave Year, Book Scholarship, and UHall Lactation Room


Target Email: Phishing Incident

A targeted email went out late Friday afternoon from Marilyn Smith and Linda Harber regarding a phishing attack at Mason.  One sentence is highlighted in the copy below as we wanted to provide you with additional background information to assist you with any questions you receive from your faculty and staff.


1.       The only item that has been temporarily disabled is online direct deposit.  This will impact new employees and anyone who wants to make a change to their current direct deposit.  For anyone else, there is no action needed.  New employees and those current employees who wish to make a change to their direct deposit will have to complete a paper direct deposit form.  One is available online on the HR & Payroll forms page or directly at

2.       The disabling of the online direct deposit function is temporary; we will keep you apprised of any updates as circumstances change.


Please alert us if any issues or concerns arise.  Thank you for your assistance; these challenges are always stressful and we want to do what we can to help you reassure your faculty and staff that the security of their personal information and pay is of paramount importance to the university.


Dear Colleagues,

Please be advised that faculty and staff at George Mason University have reported the receipt of “phishing" emails requesting personal information.

This scam is designed to look as though it was an official notice from the Information Technology Unit (ITU). Unfortunately, approximately 10 Mason employees provided their network identifications and passwords, which were used to gain access to PatriotWeb and redirect the employees' payroll direct deposits.  

Mason is not alone in experiencing these “phishing” scams; other universities have experienced similar incidents. The Mason Police Department, Human Resources and Payroll, ITU and the FBI are investigating this matter.

This incident is a reminder that identity theft is a serious problem. The university will not ask its employees to provide personal information via email.

Mason has taken steps to protect employees’ personal information, and to that end, we have temporarily disabled online direct deposit updates. If you think you have been affected by this scam or if you need to make changes to direct deposits, please contact Human Resources and Payroll Customer Service Center at (703) 993-2600.
We apologize for any inconvenience this temporary suspension of online direct deposit changes may cause. If you think you have been involved in a phishing scam, please report it to the ITU Support Center at (703) 993-8870.

The university will provide updates as early as next week after we have completed our system review.
Thank you for your patience and understanding.
Marilyn T. Smith
Vice President and CIO, Information Technology Unit
Linda H. Harber
Associate Vice President, Human Resources/Payroll


Mason Star Newsletter
We want to highlight your award winners in our annual newsletter, The Mason Star!  If you had an employee awards ceremony in Fiscal Year 2014 (July 1, 2013 - June 30, 2014), please submit the name of the award(s) and the employee recipient(s) by Thursday, July 3 to [log in to unmask] for inclusion in The Mason Star.  Last year’s issue is available for review at The Mason Star.


ICMA-RC On Campus for Individual Retirement Counseling Sessions

As promised, ICMA-RC is coming to campus to discuss the 457 deferred compensation retirement plan.  Steve Scott, Mason’s ICMA-RC representative will be in Arlington, Fairfax, and Prince William during 2014.  In fact, the first sessions start this week in Fairfax.  For details, and how to sign up for a session, please visit the Benefits Individual Counseling webpage.  ICMA-RC also offers online live webinars.  Don’t miss this opportunity to learn more about the 457 plan.  For an overview of the 457 plan, visit the VRS publication “Commonwealth of Virginia 457 Deferred Compensation Plan: Plan Features & Highlights.”


Please note: TIAA-CREF and Fidelity also have available appointments. Visit the Benefits Individual Counseling webpage for dates/times and how to schedule an appointment.


Make financial well-being one of your 2014-15 goals.  Schedule an individual counseling appointment today! 


Eldercare Resource and Referral

Life Planning/Eldercare Services at Mason provides support services and referral to faculty and staff as they seek to balance the responsibilities of work and caregiving of elder family members. Consultation to identify and understand eldercare needs, as well as resource and referral information to support a broad range of caregiving needs is a phone call away. For further information, or to set-up a confidential consultation, contact Life Planning/Eldercare Services at 703-993-1802 or submit a request online at


Our colleagues in the Staff Senate would like to share information about nominating someone to serve on the Staff Senate …

Nominations for Staff Senate Open June 9 – June 20!

Becoming a Staff Senator is a great way to get involved with the university community and to have an impact in your workplace. The Senate provides many opportunities to learn about how the University works and to network with administrators and staff members outside of your unit.

The Senate accepts nominations each June, and elections are held in July. Terms begin in August and are for two years. 2014 dates are below:

A detailed description of the Staff Senate and senator responsibilities can be found in the Constitution and Bylaws.

The Staff Senate nomination form can be found here at Staff Senate Nomination Form 2014. Completed forms are due to the Staff Senate administrative assistant by 5:00 pm on Friday, June 20.  All nominations must be submitted electronically as a Word document to [log in to unmask].

Senator nominees are encouraged to attend the Staff Appreciation Coffee Klatch on his or her campus.  Elections will be available at each event, and nominees will be provided with a button identifying them as a candidate.

If you have any questions about the responsibilities of being a senator, please contact Stephanie Payton, Staff Senate chair, at [log in to unmask] or 3.2469. For questions about the nomination or election process, please contact Kathrin Breitt Brown, Staff Senate administrative assistant, at [log in to unmask] or 3.4141.

Reminder: 12-Month Faculty Leave Year Ends on June 24th
A reminder that the 12-month faculty leave year ends each year on June 24th. This is the last date for all faculty to use their Annual Leave before the carry over. 12-month faculty may only carry over 21 days (168 hours) of annual leave.  Any Annual Leave in excess of 21 days can be donated to an employee in need through the leave sharing program (Please note: sick leave cannot be donated).  A Leave Sharing Donor Form can be found on the HR & Payroll website forms page.  Please submit the completed form to MS 3C3 by June 24, 2014.  The 12-month faculty annual leave information is available in Policy 2205 and the Types of Leave chart.  If you have any questions, please call Payroll at 3.2751.

Reminder: Mason Faculty/Staff Book Scholarship

Mason is again offering a competitive $250 book scholarship created with the $25,000 endowment received from TIAA-CREF's 2010 Raise the Rate contest. The deadline is Monday, June 16 and applying is easy. For details, please visit the Faculty/Staff Book Scholarship FAQ and the Faculty/Staff Book Scholarship Application.


Contributions to the book scholarship foundation account are always welcome. Just head out to, click on the "Give Now" tab, select "Other established fund" and fill in account #160013, Raise the Rate.


Reminder: UHall Lactation Room Change

As you may have heard, there are changes underway on the 5th floor of University Hall.  While the lactation room is still available during the construction of new office space, it will ultimately be repurposed as part of the change.  We anticipate that the lactation room in UHall 5600 will remain available through Friday, June 20. 


We have made arrangements to have a new, dedicated lactation space within the HR  & Payroll office in Room 4130.  Please let your faculty and staff know they can contact the work/life team at 3.2604 or via email at [log in to unmask] with any questions or suggestions.


Current lactation resources are available on the work/life website. We are always looking for additional spaces at all campuses and educational sites that can be used for nursing moms.  Please contact [log in to unmask] if you have a space that would be suitable. 


Please share excerpts of Instant HR/Payrolls with your faculty and staff as appropriate.
We rely on you to help us "get out the word".  Thanks!