MONEY Scams

Most People Can’t Spot an Email Scam

'Spear phishing' is especially hard to detect

Plenty of folks think they could never be outsmarted by a hacker; plenty of them are wrong. In fact, perhaps 97% are wrong.

Two new studies make this point, and show the devastating consequences of being wrong.

Security firm McAfee has created a tool that lets consumers test their ability to distinguish between real emails and fake “phishing” emails designed to steal their personal information. So far, consumers have failed the test — miserably.

In a report released earlier this month, McAfee said that of the 19,000 plus visitors from more than 140 countries, only 3% of test-takers identified every email correctly.

Even worse, four out of five thought at least one phishing email was real.

“The worldwide average score was 65.4%, which means test takers missed one in four phishing emails on average,” McAfee said.

Those results are dismal. It costs criminals almost nothing to send phishing emails, and this study suggests that they only need to get four of them into a potential victim’s inbox in order to pull off a caper.

That’s bad enough, but traditional phishing attacks are little more than vaguely targeted spam — a fake Bank of America email sent to a million people in the hope than 25,000 are actually Bank of America customers. The really insidious, and increasingly successful, crime is known as “spear phishing.” Rather than send out a million fake messages, spear phishers send out only a handful — or even only one — at a time. These emails are meticulously designed to trick the recipient. A common tactic: A booby-trapped email sent to an important person’s administrative assistant with a realistic-sounding urgent message, such as “Traveling: Please review this document immediately.”

Spear phishing is blamed for some of the most high-profile hack attacks ever. A report released earlier this month by the InfoSec Institute blamed spear phishing for the Target and Sony attacks, and cyberattacks operated by the Syrian Electronic Army and others. The group Citizen Lab provided evidence last year that the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) had used spear phishing attacks against a group attempting to document human rights abuses in an effort to unmask its members’ location.

“Thank you for your efforts to deliver a true picture of the reality of life in Raqqah,” reads a translation of part of the email, Citizen Lab claims. “We are preparing a lengthy news report on the realities of life in Raqqah. We are sharing some information with you with the hope that you will correct it in case it contains errors. …We also hope that if you happen to be on Facebook, you could provide us with the account of the person responsible for the campaign.”

A recipient who clicked on the attachment in the email was infected with software that attempted to transmit the victim’s location to the sender, Citizen Lab says.

It should be no surprise that phishing emails have also been used to attack workers at America’s critical infrastructure plants and other crucial systems.

“Spear phishing represents a serious threat for every industry, and the possibility that a group of terrorists will use this technique is concrete,’ the InfoSec report concludes.

The best defense against phishing and spear phishing is humility. Yes, you can fall for a well-crafted trick email. It only takes one moment of weakness, one click when you are distracted by something seemingly more important, to make a critical lapse in judgment that can ruin your whole day, or much worse. Your best defense: Be skeptical of every email, even those that appear to be sent by friends or co-workers. If you have any feelings of doubt, don’t click — call.

McAfee offers these additional tips:

  • Keep an eye out for telltale signs. Bad grammar, bad syntax, suspicious senders and links to misspelled URL addresses are all telltale signs of phishing.
  • Also watch for emails from unknown senders or ones asking you for personal information, especially if it’s in a threatening manner.

You may not always know that your information has been compromised until the damage has already been done. However, regularly checking your account statements, credit reports and credit scores for signs of fraudulent transactions and new accounts can help you spot many problems before they become even bigger.

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MONEY Taxes

Thieves Stole $50M in Tax Refunds Using IRS’s Online Tool

The hackers apparently used already-stolen identity information to send phony requests through the IRS's website.

MONEY Scams

Feds: Millions Targeted By ‘Phantom’ Debt Collection Scheme

couple on cell phones
Getty Images

A Georgia firm called millions of consumers attempting to collect on "phantom" debts, federal investigators allege.

A Georgia firm called millions of consumers attempting to collect on “phantom” debts, and tricked consumers by citing personal information purchased from payday loan lead generators, federal investigators allege.

A lawsuit against Universal Debt and Payment solutions and a host of related companies was revealed Wednesday, alleging the firm’s tactics included purchasing personal information from data brokers that operators could use to convince victims to pay debt they didn’t owe. Agents would use names like “LRS Litigation Group,” “Worldwide Requisitions,” and “Arbitration Resolution,” and tell consumers they risked jail time if they didn’t pay immediately. The claims were bolstered by operators’ citing personal information, including bank account numbers, the CFPB alleges, that had originally been obtained by payday loan lead generation websites and sold to data brokers.

“Our lawsuit asserts that consumers were harassed, threatened, and deceived as part of a reprehensible scheme to collect debt that was not even owed,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. “We are taking action against the many parties that allegedly contributed to this phantom debt collection operation. The ringleaders of the scheme, the telemarketing company that broadcast millions of robo-calls, and the companies that processed the payments should all be held accountable for taking advantage of vulnerable consumers.”

In one example cited in the lawsuit, a consumer complained that he received a threatening call while he was asleep.

“The caller stated that he had a ‘restraining order against (the consumer) to appear in court if I didn’t settle with them.’ The caller said the consumer had 24 hours to pay $500 on a $1,600 debt to Bank of America, or the collector would ‘contact (the consumer’s) employer to levy (his) wage, and they were also contacting the local police to serve papers,’” the lawsuit alleges. “According to the complaint, because he was scared, the consumer provided his bank card information. After making the payment, the consumer’s wife informed him that they had never done business with Bank of America.”

A phone call to the number listed for Universal Debt was answered by a man who said he was sick and was unable to answer questions about the lawsuit. Asked if he had a lawyer, he said he couldn’t afford one.

The CFPB lawsuit also names several service providers, including Global Payments, which processed the debt collector’s credit card payments.

“Payment processors provided substantial assistance … enabling the Debt Collectors to accept payment by consumers’ bank cards when the Payment Processors knew, or should have known, that the Debt Collectors were engaged in unlawful conduct,” the CFPB alleges.

The firm did not immediately respond to requests for interview.

The CFPB also named Global Connect, LLC in the lawsuit for enabling the debt collectors to initiate millions of calls.

“(It) provided this service when it knew, or should have known, that the messages it broadcast for the Debt Collectors were unfair or deceptive, and materially contributed to the Debt Collectors’ scheme,” the lawsuit says.

Global Connect did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The alleged scheme plays on a common problem — consumers who don’t know if a debt collection call is legitimate. If you’re worried about whether you have any debts haunting you, you can check your free annual credit reports for collection accounts. And if you want to see how a collection account can hurt your credit, you can check two of your credit scores for free on Credit.com.

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This article originally appeared on Credit.com.

MONEY Taxes

Last-Minute Tax Filers: Beware of This Obamacare Scam

pill bottles with money in them
Adrianna Williams—Getty Images

If you don’t have health coverage, you pay a penalty to the government. And scammers are ready to take advantage of that.

For all stripe of rip-off artist, tax season might as well be called open season. Scams are legion, and navigating a solution after the fact can be somewhere between maddening and negotiating an Iran deal that everyone likes. Last month the IRS issued a warning that received scant attention from the media, but nonetheless could impact millions of taxpayers this year — particularly targeting low-income, elderly and Spanish-speaking taxpayers.

The scam takes advantage of the Individual Shared Responsibility Provision of the Affordable Care Act. It’s a penalty, but one with many exemptions. Because it is somewhat complicated, the new provision has become the object of many fraudsters’ affections, especially during tax season.

This is the first year that taxpayers must confront this new liability. In the simplest of terms, if you don’t have health coverage, you pay a penalty to the government.

The provision is intended to induce people to get coverage, since individual shared responsibility is all about increasing the number of Americans enrolled in health insurance plans in order to enlarge the pool to spread risks and reduce costs. Regardless of what you think of that theory, that’s the informing principle.

So what is the penalty? While at first blush it doesn’t sound like a huge amount of money, it’s not nothing either — especially to a family who is forced to live paycheck to paycheck. It can be 1% of a family’s annual income (minus the tax return filing threshold for your filing status), with a maximum penalty being the national average cost of a bronze plan, or it can be calculated as $95 per adult and $47.50 per child under the age of eighteen, capping out at $285 for a family. The amount per adult will increase each year. In 2016, it will be $695 per adult and $347.50 per child, capping at $2,085 per family.

For an unscrupulous tax preparer the Shared Responsibility penalties can add up to quite a caper. How so? Because the scam involves A) taking advantage of the inherent complexity of the exemptions and B) pocketing the penalties. Sometimes the scammer claims he or she can reduce the cost of the penalty because they have created a pool for leverage, or they simply claim that paying them directly instead of the government is “how it’s done.”

The only thing you need to know is: That’s not how it’s done. The easiest way to avoid this scam is to remember one rule: Only pay the IRS. Period.

There is some good news. While you are required to report whether or not you have health care coverage on your tax return, the majority of filers will not have an issue here. It has been estimated that only four million of the estimated 30 million uninsured will have to pay the Shared Responsibility Provision in 2016. But here is where fraudsters see their honey pot, using complexity to fleece honest taxpaying citizens while exposing them to penalties when the IRS circles back to get money that was stolen from them.

Are you off the hook for paying the penalty? Here’s the list of exemptions to see if they might apply to you (consult your tax preparer as this column is not meant to serve as a substitute for professional tax advice):

  • There were no “affordable” options for you, because available annual premiums were in excess of 8% your household income.
  • You had a gap in coverage less than three consecutive months.
  • Your household income was below the return-filing threshold ($10,150 for an individual on a 2014 tax return).
  • You are not a U.S. citizen, a U.S. national, nor an alien lawfully present in the United States.
  • You belong to a health care sharing ministry.
  • You belong to a federally-recognized Native American tribe.
  • You are in a jail, prison or another qualifying institution — such as a psychiatric hospital, etc.
  • You belong to a qualifying religion existing prior to December 31, 1950, recognized by the Social Security Administration (SSA).
  • You qualify for a hardship exemption.

Hopefully it’s not news that you need to choose a tax preparer wisely. There are many fly-by-night operations that are literally gone in the blink of an eye the minute April 16th rolls around.

That said, most tax preparers work hard to get you the best possible refund (or the lowest possible amount due) while remaining scrupulous and sticking to the letter of the law—and that is no easy task given the complexity of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986. If you are unsure about a tax preparer, you should ask for references or, even better, consult the IRS’s searchable database of tax preparers that are recognized by the agency.

This story is an Op/Ed contribution to Credit.com and does not necessarily represent the views of the company or its partners.

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This article originally appeared on Credit.com.

MONEY Scams

IRS Agent or Scammer? 5 Signs You’re Being Conned

fishing hooks being dropped into fishbowl with goldfish
Adam Gault—Getty Images

A nasty con is on the rise involving fake IRS agents who call up potential victims and demand payment for back taxes.

Scammers who pretend to be IRS agents and harass unsuspecting citizens into paying debts they don’t owe have been quite busy over the last two years. According to the Associated Press, some version of this scam has resulted in victims being conned out of $15.5 million since 2013.

Only a small percentage of people who are targeted actually fall for the ruse, which in the past has involved criminals claiming to be federal agents named, rather uncreatively, Steve Martin or Jack Dawson—the actor-comedian and Leonardo DiCaprio character in Titanic, respectively. Roughly 3,000 have given money over to the con artists, out of more than 366,000 that have been contacted via phone over the past two years. But some of those who are victimized have been bilked out of big money—to the tune of more than $500,000 in one instance.

In order to avoid being victimized yourself, bear in mind a few key points:

Don’t trust caller ID. As the FTC noted last summer, scammers have ways of “spoofing” caller ID to make it look as if the call is originating from a government agency.

The IRS doesn’t call people up out of the blue. The IRS almost always contacts people about unpaid taxes first by mail, not by phone. So if someone claims to be a government agent and says that you owe money, or perhaps that you’re eligible for a refund or some prize, look up the agency’s official number and dial it up to check if what you’re hearing is legitimate. Most likely, it isn’t.

Don’t give out or confirm info over the phone. Fake agents may have some of your personal info—even the last four digits of your social security number. Don’t help out the imposter by confirming this info or giving out any other information over the phone.

IRS agents won’t ask for a specific form of payment. Scammers usually want payments made via prepaid debit cards or wire transfers because they’re difficult to trace. A genuine IRS agent never asks for immediate payment over the phone, never requests payment information over the phone, and never specifies a certain form of payment for unpaid taxes.

The IRS won’t threaten you with arrest or deportation. Or losing your driver’s license, your job, or your business. Scammers have made all of these threats and more in order to get victims to pay up swiftly. But again, if you truly owe the IRS money, you will first be notified by mail, not with a phone call. And certainly not with a harassing phone call.

As Timothy Camus, a Treasury deputy inspector general for tax administration, explained to the AP, “If someone calls unexpectedly claiming to be from the IRS with aggressive threats if you do not pay immediately, it is a scam artist calling.”

If you do get a call that you suspect to be a scam, hang up the phone right away, and then report the incident at the taxpayer administration hotline (800-366-4484). File a complaint with the FTC as well.

MONEY TV

Here’s Everything That’s Wrong With Cable and Satellite TV Bills

150312_EM_CableBills
Getty Images

A new complaint filed by the FTC alleging deceptive advertising by DirecTV is a case study in everything that customers hate about how pay TV providers do business.

This week, the Federal Trade Commission filed a complaint against the satellite pay TV provider DirecTV, alleging deceptive advertising. The FTC charges that DirecTV violated the FTC Act in many instances by failing to clearly and prominently disclose various “gotchas” in subscriber contracts, including that customers are locked into services for two years, and that an extra fee for premium channels kicks in automatically unless subscribers proactively cancel the option.

A federal court in San Francisco will decide if DirecTV is guilty as charged, and if so how much the company will owe in fines and payments to customers. Regardless of the outcome, however, the complaint exposes pretty much everything that’s misleading, hated, and just plain wrong with the way pay TV providers—DirecTV as well as Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and the rest—reel in subscribers in and then get them on the hook for a lot more money than they’d anticipated.

Specifically, the case calls attention to the following annoying and atrocious practices routinely employed by virtually all pay TV providers.

Loads of fine print. “It’s a bedrock principle that the key terms of an offer to a consumer must be clear and conspicuous, not hidden in fine print,” FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez said in the press release announcing the complaint against DirecTV. Yet to this day, details regarding DirecTV’s plans, including a requirement to keep the service for 24 months or face a cancellation fee up to $480, are explained in typeface that’s minuscule compared with the $19.99 monthly rate. It’s also confusing that while it’s necessary to subscribe for 24 months, the $19.99 rate is only valid for half that time. What happens after the first 12 months have ended?

Exploding bills. “DIRECTV does not clearly disclose that the cost of the package will increase by up to $45 more per month in the second year,” the FTC complaint states. This strategy—drawing in subscribers with a cheap rate, then jacking it up as soon as possible—is the consensus business model of all the major pay TV providers. What this commonplace tactic shows is that these companies value new subscribers over older, more loyal ones. It essentially punishes loyal customers who accept the bill hikes without complaint, while giving price breaks to newcomers and people who threaten to jump ship to a competitor. Assuming that’s a possibility, of course.

Difficult to change or cancel. DirecTV hits subscribers with a big fee if they try to drop the service before the allotted two-year introductory period has ended. The widespread use of “retention specialists” whose job is to stop customers from canceling or downsizing plans, as well as various cancellation or change fees, plus the fact that most Americans only have one or two pay TV options where they live all help to conspire to keep subscribers paying whichever provider they currently have.

Surprise fees. The cancellation fee cited by the FTC is only one of many charges that drive pay TV subscribers crazy. The others include a dizzying roster of taxes and fees for things like modems or some vague “Voice/data Equipment.”

Overall deception and opaque pricing. How much will your total monthly bill come to after all taxes and fees? What’s the exact breakdown on fees? When will introductory prices rise, and what rate will they rise to? For that matter, what’s the full price for various package plans in your neck of the woods? Good luck finding answers to any of these spelled out clearly and prominently on a pay TV provider ad or website.

The providers prefer to keep customers in the dark, and you can see why: If people knew how much their bill would actually be, and how quickly and significantly the monthly rate will soar, they’d be a lot less likely to sign up in the first place.

MONEY Travel

$5 Bottled Water at Airport Inspires a Lawsuit

Water near a checked-baggage inspection station at Terminal One at Los Angeles International Airport.
Reed Saxon—AP Water near a checked-baggage inspection station at Terminal One at Los Angeles International Airport.

Everything is overpriced at the airport. But a new lawsuit alleges that gouging travelers to the tune of $5 for a bottle of water is taking things too far.

Travelers might rightfully feel that airport stores charging an outrageous $5 for bottled water is just plain wrong. A new lawsuit raises just this issue, but surprisingly, it hasn’t been filed by a traveler coalition or group of consumer advocates. Instead, the squabble involves two retailers squaring off at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).

The New Jersey-based Hudson Group is under contract to run two boutique Kitson stores at LAX. Recently, Kitson filed a lawsuit after Hudson allegedly refused to sell bottled water at a price of $2.55 per liter—instead charging a “hugely” inflated price of nearly $5 per bottle.

“Water is one of the most basic necessities for travelers and Hudson is taking advantage of the post-9-11 airport restrictions” by inflating water prices, Kitson attorney Steven Bledsoe explained to the Associated Press.

The fight isn’t over the price of bottled water alone. Kitson has been trying to get out its licensing contract with Hudson for months, if not longer, and both sides are accusing the other of breach of contract. A few weeks ago, according to the Los Angeles Times, Kitson accused Hudson of a “candy-gate” scandal, claiming that Hudson put new wrappers with later expiration on candy bars—and that it overcharged for the stale chocolate to boot. More recently, Kitson says that it sought to stock shelves at the airport with SmartWater for $2.55 per liter, but the Hudson Group refused. Hudson, which operates other stores at the airport, charges $4 to $5 for bottled water at LAX.

Just how much of a rip-off is that? In a 2009 study concerning airport pricing, all major American airports charged $2.60 or less for bottled water—and the prices then were considered exploitive. Some airports, such as Dallas-Fort Worth, cap prices for airport concessions at 10% above street level rates. That equated to $2.25 for a 20-oz. bottle in 2009; at the time, the same bottle cost “only” $1.84 at LAX.

At $3, the price of a bottle of water purchased aboard Spirit Airlines is considered outrageous, but that’s probably more to do with the fact that an airline charges for water at all, rather than the price charged. Prices at LAX are roughly in line with pro sports venues, which are also renowned for gouging customers. Levi’s Stadium, home of the San Francisco 49ers, charges an absurd $5.75 for bottled water.

In any event, Hudson maintains that the two LAX-location Kitson stores will close at the end of March, while Kitson says there is no such agreement and that their contract doesn’t end then. What’s more, Hudson representatives say that if travelers are worried about being ripped off, it’s actually Kitson that should concern them. “Kitson is known for selling pricey items in its high end boutiques,” Hudson attorney Timmons said in a statement. “Anyone who thinks that Kitson is really motivated here by an altruistic concern over how much consumers are paying for water at LAX has either never shopped at a Kitson store or is really naive.”

Oh, and if you’re really concerned about how much water costs at LAX or any airport, just bring a refillable bottle, or even just an empty plastic bottle. Then, once you’re beyond the security gates, where you can’t cross through with liquids, find the nearest water fountain and fill up.

TIME Scams

The New Way Scammers Are Fleecing America

Sending Text Message On Mobile Phone Nokia 3310
Alamy Seemed like a smart phone at the time.

That call you got probably isn't actually from the IRS

The FTC released its annual list of the top consumer complaints, and while there are some perennial gripes therein, there are also some new things consumers should watch out for.

Among the more than 2.5 million complaints, not including do-not-call complaints, identity theft once again takes the top spot—a position it’s held for 15 years running now. In 2014, 13% of the complaints the fielded by the FTC, state and federal agencies, consumer protection and other non-governmental groups pertained to identity theft.

Right behind it, debt collection complaints held onto the number two spot with 11% of the complaints, but a new entrant entered the third spot: so-called “impostor” scams.

Impostor scams are when someone calls and pretends to be from a government agency or other authority, usually the IRS, but not always. These scams often revolve around tax-related topics. The FTC says complaints about fake “IRS” agents was almost 24 times higher last year than in 2013.

“IRS employees won’t call out of the blue and threaten to have you arrested or demand specific methods of payment,” says Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. If the real IRS needs to get ahold of you about a tax bill, they know where you live — they’ll do it by mail.

Military personnel appear to be at a higher risk for impostor scams. While it was the third most common complaint overall last year, it was the second-highest complaint for military consumers.

“Whether it’s pretending to be the IRS during tax season, or making false promises of a lottery win, scammers are increasingly sophisticated in their efforts to deceive consumers,” Rich says.

Members of the military also seem to be targeted to a greater degree by shady educational outfits: Although complaints related to education were pretty far down the list among the general population, they ranked seventh-highest among members of the military.

Where you live also makes a difference in the likelihood that you’ll be targeted by scammers. The FTC says the most identity theft complaints come from Florida, Washington and Oregon, while the most fraud complaints come from Florida (again), Georgia and Nevada.

Nationwide, more than half of fraud complaints originate with a scammer calling the victim; about a quarter of the contacts are initiated by email. Fraud pertaining to government documents or benefits was the most common kind, making up almost 40% of complaints. Prepaid cards and wire transfers were the most common ways scammers separated victims from their money.

MONEY Scams

The Dumb Thing People Do Every Winter That Gets Cars Stolen

empty parking space and snow
Riitta Supperi—Getty Images

Yes, it's cold out. And sure, no one likes getting into a freezing car. But warming it up first may not be such a hot idea.

There’s a big reason you shouldn’t start your car up in the driveway and head back inside while it warms up. Why? Doing so makes it incredibly easy for someone to steal your car. Hundreds of people around the country have been learning this hard lesson over the past couple months.

Think about how often, once the weather turns cold, people start their vehicles and leave the car unlocked with the keys in the ignition for 10 minutes or so before the morning commute. It doesn’t take a brilliant criminal mind to take advantage of this all-too-common scenario. All that thieves need to do is patrol the neighborhoods looking for cars that are running with no one behind the wheel. Before you know it, they’re driving away in someone else’s vehicle, no hotwiring or carjacking required.

Reports of cars being stolen out of driveways while warming up started surfacing around Thanksgiving in Arkansas, when nine vehicles were swiped during a two-week period. During the first few chilly weeks of 2015, dozens of such thefts have popped up in a long list of cities, including Albuquerque, Indianapolis, Boise, Wichita, Anchorage, Toronto, and even smaller towns like Hamilton, N.J. Mind you, isolated cars thefts rarely make the news; each of the above links put locals on notice that there’s been a rash of ripoffs—often a dozen, sometimes many more.

Police in Kansas City recently estimated that roughly 200 unattended vehicles with keys left inside have been stolen this winter. The thefts usually take place in residential areas curbside or in the owner’s driveway, but criminals are also known to stake out convenience stores and gas stations waiting for someone to leave a car running for a moment.

In some states—including Kansas—it’s actually illegal to have a car running with no one inside. However, local police say they can’t cite anyone for a traffic violation on private property, such as the owner’s driveway.

In any event, the obvious moral to the story here is: Don’t give thieves such an easy opportunity to steal your car! If you must warm up your car, do it with a remote starter or use a separate valet key, so that the door can remain locked while the vehicle is unoccupied. Or just, you know, suck it up and sit in a cold car. Put on an extra layer of clothing if you need to. It’s winter, after all.

MONEY Holidays

These Miserable Guys Say Valentine’s Day Is a Ploy By ‘Oppressive Chocolate Capitalists’

Vday chocolates on shelf
Denis Beaumont—AP

Imagine if the Grinch hated Valentine's Day instead of Christmas. A group of dudes with this kind of mentality are planning a march in protest of the "blood-soaked conspiracy of Valentine's Day" on Saturday.

A reasonable case can be made that Valentine’s Day is too forced and commercial. It’s the ultimate Hallmark holiday, the argument goes, in which many people spend purely out of a sense of obligation, based on traditions cooked up ages ago by entrepreneurs pushing chocolates, greeting cards, jewelry, and roses. This week, for instance, the Miami Herald reported that over the course of half a century, Colombia has spent a fortune developing and marketing flowers to export to the U.S., and the result is that today three out of four flower orders delivered on Valentine’s Day originate in the country.

The point is that no matter how much Valentine’s Day has to do with genuine displays of love and affection, it’s also about marketing and making money. Big whoop, you might think. Every holiday, from Thanksgiving to Halloween and beyond, is exploited by somebody trying to make a buck.

Apparently, however, one angry group of men in Japan feel that they can’t stay quiet or simply ignore the holiday they view as offensive and oppressive. They are planning a “Smash Valentine’s Day” protest march in Tokyo on Saturday to get their voices heard.

As you might imagine, these haters and their movement aren’t big hits with the ladies. In fact, they admit as much. The group’s name is Kakuhido, which translates roughly as “Revolutionary Alliance of Men That Women Find Unattractive” or just “Revolutionary Unattractive Male Alliance.”

A call to arms on has been issued on group’s website, the (UK) Telegraph reported. “The blood-soaked conspiracy of Valentine’s Day, driven by the oppressive chocolate capitalists, has arrived once again,” reads the announcement about Saturday’s planned demonstration. “In order to create a brighter future, we call for solidarity among our unloved comrades so that we may demonstrate in resolute opposition to Valentine’s Day and the romantic industrial complex.”

On the one hand, Katsuhiro Furusawa, who founded the “Revolutionary” group in 2006 after (surprise) being dumped by his girlfriend before Christmas, is sometimes known to express a sensible point of view. “The love the mass media is talking about is actually commercial love,” he explained of Valentine’s Day to one magazine. “They are using love to turn people into consumers.”

Yet Tokyo Reporter noted that, by and large, “Kakuhido’s beliefs are misogynistic.” They’re anti-woman, anti-marriage, and also just plain angry and sad. And it’s not just Valentine’s Day they hate. The group hosted an anti-Christmas demonstration last December, reportedly because they were “tired of feeling lonely and depressed by the lack of female companionship during the holiday season.”

Sad. Let’s hope that come Saturday, a Grinch-like miracle happens and the hearts of Kakuhido members grow three sizes on Valentine’s Day.

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