Skip to main content


SE'ing Encyclopedia

Updated: 08/09/2022:    If you've ever wanted to know every term and method relative to social engineering, Irrespective of your level of experience, then you've come to the right place. This SEing encyclopedia, has everything you need pertaining to common terms and methods that're used In today's world of exploiting the human firewall. All topics Include a brief description, as well as a few examples of how each term Is used In a sentence- which will be of benefit to those new to the SEing sector. To help refine your search, I've added a table of contents, whereby you can pick and choose exactly what you're looking for. 

The Similar Item Method

Send A Similar Item Back Instead Of The Original.

When purchasing an Item online, or by physically attending the store at your local shopping mall, I'm sure you've experienced at some point that a "similar Item was packed" Instead of the original. It's a fact that manufacturers/suppliers do make errors when picking and packing orders prior to dispatch- particularly when two or more Items are very similar In appearance.

Sure, (where applicable) they're scanned and Identified by their respective serial numbers, but all It takes Is a momentary lapse of concentration, and the scanned Item Is not the one that was packed and shipped. Due to the Items being very similar In appearance, a lot of companies don't bother to fully check returns. Social engineers are well aware of this, and use what's called the "similar Item method" when SEing a company for a replacement or refund. Let's have a look at what this method Is all about.

Similar Item Method Defined:

The method pretty much speaks for Itself. Basically, It's "swapping a like-for-like Item" when social engineering a company. For example, If the SE'er ordered and received an SSD (Solid State Drive) with the Intention to SE the company by claiming It's defective, they will request to return It before a refund or replacement can be Issued. Instead of sending back the original SSD, the social engineer will "dispatch an old hard drive" that's been lying around the house, "and looks very similar to the original SSD". However, It's not as simple as It sounds- It does take careful planning and consideration, both of which are achieved by "researching" every detail of relevance.

Researching All Details:

Prior to ordering the Item, the social engineer knows that he "must be very selective with the company", by opting for one on a very large scale. Why? Because big companies have an Influx of claims on a daily basis, and for the most part, they simply don't have the manpower to "thoroughly check each and every returned Item". This suits the social engineer's method perfectly.

He's found a company that's quite busy all year round, but before ordering the SSD, the SE'er first checks Its weight on the company's website, and selects one that's "almost the same as his old hard disk". This way, In the event the company checks the consignment's weight, It will match thus no suspicion will be raised. The social engineer has all the Information he needs to go ahead with the SE.

The SE In Action:

The social engineer has purchased the external SSD online and upon receiving the package, calls the company and claims that the Item Is defective. The representative asks the SE'er to go through a few routine troubleshooting steps. The social engineer Is obviously still adamant that the SSD Is not functioning and as such, the representative asks to return It and will then Issue a full refund. This Is where the "similar Item method" kicks In. The SE'er Instead, "sends his old hard disk by placing It perfectly In the original packaging". This gives the appearance as though the original SSD has been sent. After a day or two, a refund has been deposited Into the SE'er's account. The social engineer now has a brand new SSD without paying a single dime.

Why The SE Succeeded:

Firstly, the social engineer "researched" every detail to make sure that his method was suited to the nature of the SE. He also knew that there was every possibility, that the company may check the Item on return. As such, he made sure that "the weight of his old hard disk matched the original Item", and "Its appearance was almost Identical". Moreover, "he packed It In the exact same manner as per the original packaging". Ultimately, the company had a quick look and saw that Its appearance matched the description on the box and accepted It by placing It back In their Inventory, and Issued a refund thereafter.