Latest update includes:

Annual Department Security Officer (DSO) Briefing March 6
The Annual Department Security Officer Briefing is scheduled for Thursday March 6th from 9:30-12:00 in the 21st Floor Conference Room at One Ashburton Place, Boston.

Please join representatives from CTR and ITD for an informative session on timely topics. The full agenda will be circulated once finalized.

This session will be webcast for those who cannot attend in person.

Please register for this session (live meeting or webcast) via the Comptroller's Training and Meeting Schedule.

MMARS Saturday Hours
MMARS and LCM will be available on Saturday, February 22, from 9:00 A.M. to 7:00 P.M. The Help Desk will not be staffed and any Saturday Help Desk calls will be returned on Monday, February 24.

Weekly Fraud Awareness and Prevention Fact – What Steps can You Take to Protect Yourself and Other from Email Attachment Viruses?

  • Be wary of unsolicited attachments, even from people you know- Just because an email message looks like it came from your mom, grandma, or boss doesn't mean that it did. Many viruses can "spoof" the return address, making it look like the message came from someone else. If you can, check with the person who supposedly sent the message to make sure it's legitimate before opening any attachments. This includes email messages that appear to be from your ISP or software vendor and claim to include patches or anti-virus software. ISPs and software vendors do not send patches or software in email.
  • Keep software up to date- Install software patches so that attackers can't take advantage of known problems or vulnerabilities. Many operating systems offer automatic updates. If this option is available, you should enable it.
  • Trust your instincts- If an email or email attachment seems suspicious, don't open it, even if your anti-virus software indicates that the message is clean. Attackers are constantly releasing new viruses, and the anti-virus software might not have the signature. At the very least, contact the person who supposedly sent the message to make sure it's legitimate before you open the attachment. However, especially in the case of forwards, even messages sent by a legitimate sender might contain a virus. If something about the email or the attachment makes you uncomfortable, there may be a good reason. Don't let your curiosity put your computer at risk.
  • Save and scan any attachments before opening them
    If you have to open an attachment before you can verify the source, take the following steps:

Be sure the signatures in your anti-virus software are up to date.
Save the file to your computer or a disk.
Manually scan the file using your anti-virus software.
If the file is clean and doesn't seem suspicious, go ahead and open it.

  • Turn off the option to automatically download attachments
    To simplify the process of reading email, many email programs offer the feature to automatically download attachments. Check your settings to see if your software offers the option, and make sure to disable it.
  • Consider creating separate accounts on your computer
    Most operating systems give you the option of creating multiple user accounts with different privileges. Consider reading your email on an account with restricted privileges. Some viruses need "administrator" privileges to infect a computer.

This week’s tips adapted from ITD’s Security Office. If you have any questions regarding this or previous Fraud Awareness and Prevention Facts, please contact the Comptroller Help Desk at 617-973-2468 or via email at Comptroller.Info@State.MA.US. To report Fraud, Waste, or Abuse contact one of the Commonwealth’s Whistleblower Hotlines.

Upcoming Training Sessions and Meetings

  • Webcast How to Run a Warehouse Starter Query – Friday, February 21, 11:00 A.M. – 12:00 P.M., Online Training
  • Intro to HR/CMS Payroll Warehouse – Wednesday, February 26, 9:00 A.M. – 3:00 P.M., One Ashburton Place Boston, 9th Floor Training Lab
  • CIW Report Building with MS Excel – Thursday, February 27, 9:00 A.M. – 12:00 P.M., One Ashburton Place Boston, 9th Floor Training Lab
  • Intro to State Finance MMARS Navigation – Tuesday, March 4, 9:00 A.M. – 12:30 P.M., One Ashburton Place Boston, 9th Floor Training Lab
  • Risk Management – Wednesday, March 5, 9:00 A.M. – 12:00 P.M., One Ashburton Place Boston, 9th Floor Executive Conference Room
  • Security Officers Briefing – Thursday, March 6, 9:30 A.M. – 12:00 P.M., One Ashburton Place Boston, 21st Floor Conference Room
  • Webcast Security Officers Briefing – Thursday, March 6, 9:30 A.M. – 12:00 P.M., Online Meeting
  • Payroll User Group Meeting – Wednesday, March 12, 9:30 A.M. – 12:30 P.M., One Ashburton Place Boston, 21st Floor Conference Room
  • Webcast Payroll User Group Meeting – Wednesday, March 12, 9:30 A.M. – 12:30 P.M., Online Training

Register for these sessions via the Comptroller's Training and Meeting Schedule which lists classes scheduled for the next two months and Payroll User Groups through 2014.

MMARS Hint of the Week - Changing Department Contact Information
Sometimes departments move, or have new key contacts. The following tables may need to be updated, to do so fill out a Table Change Request Form and submit to The Office of the Comptroller.

  • Contact Table (CNTAC): This is the table to change MMARS contact codes, which are commonly a department contact and telephone number. These codes are attached to many different documents, for example, the disbursed paper checks and EFTs (electronic funds transfer). Look in the Department table (DEPT) in MMARS to find out which contact code is linked to the disbursements. The main contact code can also be found there.
  • Department Billing Profile (DBPRO): The department billing profile is used for receivables. The organization/contact information, as well as the contact code can be changed.
  • Billing Instructions table (BINST): This table contains billing instruction codes used for dunning notices. They often contain specific instructions on where to send payments.
  • Procurement Location (PLOC): The procurement location table contains billing and shipping location codes used in encumbrance documents.