MSU community warned to watch for phishing after attempted theft

The Michigan State University Police Department is investigating an attempted theft of employee direct-deposit payroll earnings.

Direct-deposit incident

On Friday, October 18, two employees reported receiving email confirmation of a change in their direct-deposit designation.

Police say that valid credentials (MSU NetID and password) were used by a perpetrator to modify the employees’ banking information on the EBS HR/Payroll (SAP) system. It is believed that the perpetrator gained access to the credentials through a sophisticated phishing attack.

A student works on a laptop computer

There is no indication of a system-wide security breach or exposure of other employee data. As a precaution, the EBS systems were taken offline late Friday afternoon.


MSU Police are asking anyone who suspects that their banking information has been comprised to call (517) 355-2222.

Questions related to phishing or MSU NetIDs may be directed to the IT Services Support Desk at (517) 432-6200.

Phishing tips

Online scammers are becoming much more sophisticated in their attempts to lure victims, especially using email links to false websites. It is increasingly difficult to tell the difference between legitimate and counterfeit online sites.

There has been a recent uptick in phishing attacks at institutions across the country.

Accordingly, each of us must be vigilant in our actions to prevent cybercrime and follow secure practices online.

MSU SecureIT encourages the MSU community to:

  1. Never respond to an email requesting personal information.
  2. Use a different strong password for each online account.
  3. Change passwords more frequently for accounts with access to confidential data.
  4. Never share your password with others.

More SecureIT information