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. 

How To Obtain A Refund


How To Get A Refund Instead Of A Replacement Item.

When you hit a Google search with social engineering as the keywords, there will be countless pages returned, with the majority of sources defining It as obtaining confidential Information such as usernames & passwords, bank account details and so forth, or Infecting computers with malware with the Intention to gain remote access and steal sensitive data from the PC In question. All that relates to the boring old-school SEing consisting of (but not limited to) "pretexting", "tailgating", "spear phishing", "quid pro quo", "phishing" and the rest of the names that someone happened to somehow manifest with their fanciful Imagination.

Each of the quoted terms above, are simply a gateway to access the target and regardless of their meaning, they all pertain to one thing: "manipulate the victim to perform an action that they're not supposed to do". That's the true meaning of social engineering, no matter what the SE'er Is aiming to achieve. In terms of a more sophisticated type of SEing, named "company manipulation and exploitation", It's not as simple as making a phone call for a few minutes or so and grab someone's credentials thereafter- there's a lot more Involved to achieve the objective at hand. Things like Investigations opened, police reports filed and returned, statutory declarations be signed and dealing with stubborn representatives who refuse to budge, all add to the complexities of the attack vector.

If you're not well-equipped to effectively handle every obstacle that comes your way and most Importantly, always be one step ahead of every question, request and concern thrown at you by the rep/agent, then your SE may well and truly come to an end. As an Intermediate or advanced SE'er who's been hitting companies of all shapes and sizes, you'd know precisely what I'm talking about and on-topic of this article, you'll also be aware that for the most part, It can be an arduous task to deceive the rep Into "crediting your account with a refund", as opposed to having a replacement Item dispatched. 

Now I'm not referring to reps who couldn't care less and approve your claim on the spot, but rather those who're arrogant and want to make life difficult for you, by finalizing It In a manner that suits them- namely sending a replacement against your wishes. For whatever reason It may be, you may want a replacement Item at the time of a particular SE, but In my experience, the majority of SE'ers (myself Included) prefer refunds- for the fact that you get to keep the original product, and purchase anything you like with the funds that have been reimbursed Into your bank account/credit card. However, specifically requesting a refund does not always go your way and trying to convince the representative to comply, can fail at the best of times.

That's where I come In. I will Introduce you to a few methodologies on how to manipulate any company Into Issuing a refund, by using a calculated approach as to "why a replacement cannot be personally accepted" and also "the reasons It's not suited to your circumstances", which essentially leaves a refund as the only alternative. Do note that what you're about to read from this point forward, mostly relates to technology-based products that require some type of functionality to operate, but I've also added a couple of topics that apply to just about any Item of your choice. Okay, without further ado, let's get this tutorial started. 

Fearful Of A Repeated Fault:

There's no doubt that everyone wants to have the latest IPhone, or perhaps the best GPU to accommodate their gaming needs but due to their ridiculous retail value, purchasing It on legit grounds and being ex-amount of dollars out of pocket Is not an option. As such and from an SEing standpoint, that's when the faulty Item method comes Into action, by saying that the Item you bought from an online store to the likes of Amazon, Logitech, Currys PC World etc Is not working, either right from the start or sometime later. After contacting the rep and telling him that It's faulty, It's part of company protocol to go through a few troubleshooting steps to try and Identify why your Item Is not operating as per Its manufacturer's state.

Everything he asks you to do, you'll obviously respond with a negative result and when he's satisfied that It's a factory defect, It's common procedure to arrange "a replacement Item" but only when your (seemingly) broken product Is returned. Evidently, you have no Intention to send It back, so to circumvent the return, you'll use the good old boxing method by making the package appear as though It was tampered with In transit, and your Item was stolen before the company received It. If It's extremely light (under 120 grams) to not register a weight on consignment, send the box with nothing Inside. If It's quite heavy, use dry Ice as the weight substitute.

That takes care of the return process, but now you need to persuade the rep/agent Into giving you a "refund" and not a replacement - which should be done the moment you've been told that your claim has been approved. Do not leave It any longer - It could be somewhat difficult to reverse their decision, particularly when their Invoicing department has finalized the paperwork and your claim Is marked as complete. If you haven't worked It out already by this topic's title, simply saying "you're fearful that the same (or similar) fault will happen again In a distressed state of mind", Is enough to justify your request for a refund. The tone of your voice speaks a thousand words of how you're feeling at the time so where possible, communicate over the phone politely, yet give the Impression of a stressful conversation on your end. 

You'll be amazed at just how powerful the approach Is when used In the above fashion. On the other hand, shooting off an email could be the only option, but It's not a problem when you know how to translate your thoughts to paper In a convincing manner. The key Is to play the victim, by making the representative feel guilty about wanting to send you a replacement. There Is an Infinite number of ways to do this, but I cannot possibly cater for each and every one, hence purely as an example, you can write something along the lines of: "I suffer from a lot of anxiety, and I don't know how I'd cope If (name your product) breaks again". As you can see, It's short, straight to the point, and not demanding nor being rude - which Is why It has a very high chance of working In your favor for a refund.

Claiming The Replacement Item Is Faulty:

Before I begin (and as per above), this only applies to Items that are manufactured with mechanical and/or electrical components, thereby they're susceptible to losing functionality. Okay, as an SE'er yourself, you'd be well aware that not everything goes according to plan during the course of your SE. You may have formulated your method to perfection and flawlessly executed your attack, but once It leaves your local environment and Is In the hands of the company's reps, you have very little control of how your claim Is "handled". As a result, It's Imperative to use your SEing skill set to Its full potential when Influencing representatives to comply with your request for a refund - which Is precisely what you've done In the above topic to help ensure a successful outcome.    

However, not every rep behaves and responds equally, thus you'll Inevitably come across those who remain firm with their decision to dispatch "a replacement Item" and regardless of the type of manipulative tactic you hit them with, their mind cannot be changed - "a replacement" Is on Its way to your address. Obviously your Intention was to get your money back, and because "you've already used the faulty Item method once" (on the original purchased Item), you'll use It again "on the unwanted replacement Item that you've just received" by once again claiming It's defective. This has an extremely high success rate, for the fact that you've (seemingly) received "two Items that lost functionality" - the original Item ordered, and the unwanted replacement Item, therefore the company has very little reason to decline your claim for a refund. 

Now If you've said that the original Item wasn't working "Immediately after you tried using It", what I recommend doing with the replacement Item, Is to "wait a few days before contacting the company". Why? Well, It's not very likely that two products of the same type and from the same manufacturer, were defective (right from the start) after passing through the last Inspection of their quality control team. Breaking down after a few days of use (for the replacement Item), sounds a lot more realistic, so expect your account to be credited. You will need to return the replacement, but there's no need to box It this time - just tamper with It so that It doesn't work and send It back. When they receive It, your refund will finally be Issued to you. 

In summary, here's what happened with the above SE:
  • You purchased something and used the faulty Item method and It succeeded. 
  • The company sent a replacement Item, Instead of the refund you were hoping for.
  • You used the faulty Item method on the unwanted replacement Item.
  • The SE succeeded with the unwanted replacement Item.
  • You made sure the unwanted replacement Item was not working and returned It to the company.
  • The company received It and Issued a refund.
Not Available To Accept The Delivery:

In contrast to everything that you've had the pleasure of reading so far, this particular approach Is suited to almost any Item you're planning to social engineer. Of course, It's based on the grounds that your claim has been approved and the rep will be sending a replacement to your residential address - but Instead you want to be refunded. As such and given that the only way the package will reach your home Is via their carrier partner, you will be using excuses on "why you will not be available to meet up with the driver" at your home. 

But what If they try to arrange a collection point to pick up your package, as opposed to delivering It to your house? Rest assured, what you're about to read will circumvent that quite easily, as well as any other arrangement that the company may suggest as an alternative delivery location. Remember: "This guide relates to why you cannot physically accept your goods (the replacement Item)" hence, force the company to refund your account, so let's check It out now.

Absent Due To Work Commitments

Irrespective of whether you're still at school or attending college and studying for a degree, the company has no Idea of your personal profile, so as far as you're concerned, "you are currently working as an employee who's on-call". What this means Is, because of the nature of your work, you don't really have a set time and date to attend your job, therefore you must leave a window open In case you get called Into work. Put simply, your boss may call you at any given time to start your shift, so It's not possible to commit to any sort of delivery arrangement made by the company - which Is exactly what you'll say when you speak with the rep/agent. I've assisted many SE'ers using this approach, and It work on every occasion, so there's every reason why It should do the same for you.

Called For Jury Duty

The biggest advantage of using this excuse, Is that It well and truly solidifies your absence from home, and there's absolutely nothing that the representatives can say or do, to try and tell you to hang around for the carrier driver to arrive at your premises. You see, when you're called for "jury duty", you must (by law) serve as a juror In court and depending on nature of the trial, you could be there for days or maybe weeks, which essentially means "you won't be home to accept the replacement". Now the company may ask for documents to prove that what you're saying Is true and correct, but as you're aware, It's pretty easy to provide a fake letter. I've located a sample here within 20 seconds -that can be edited using Adobe Acrobat or Adobe Photoshop

In Hospital As An Inpatient

In my view, the effectiveness of this approach Is on par with the one above, due to the fact that as opposed to an outpatient whereby you're treated on the day and then sent home, an Inpatient Is when you'll be hospitalized for at least one night for treatment such as "surgery". This Is a perfect excuse to convince the customer service rep that you cannot meet the driver at your house, nor at any other location that he may try to arrange to pickup your replacement Item. How can It possibly be done when you're (seemingly) In hospital? Enough said. Notice how I've quoted "surgery" just above? That's because most operations usually result In a minimum of one day In hospital, to maybe an entire week or more. There's no need to justify this to the rep/agent - your personal affairs Is none of their business. Simply saying "you require surgery as an Inpatient" speaks for Itself.    

Away On A Business Trip

This Is very similar to the first subtopic named "Absent Due To Work Commitments" that you've just read a few minutes ago, with the only exception that you'll be away from home (for work) on a business trip for an extended period of time - preferably a few weeks to over a month or so. I've used this excuse a number of times to avoid accepting deliveries, and Its success rate remains at over 95% to date and given Its worked for me, the same will apply to yourself - regardless of your level of experience. How so, you ask? Well, anyone with half a brain would know that a "business trip" Is exactly that - travelling to another location for work purposes, so Informing the rep In this manner can be done with no effort whatsoever. Once again, you've bypassed the company's plans for a replacement Item.

Received The Same Item As A Gift:

Have you ever received a gift for your birthday from a friend or perhaps an acquaintance and upon opening It, you found that you already had the same product or something very much alike? I know I certainly have, I'm sure It's happened to you at some point In time. This scenario Is based on legit circumstances, and If you've made a claim In a similar and genuine fashion, by telling the representative that "you bought an Item and your partner gifted you the same one" and would like to "send back the purchased Item" for a refund, I can assure you that you will not encounter any complications - particularly when It's a company on a large scale such as Amazon. For your reference, this Is known as "the gift method"

All the above Is no different when used for social engineering purposes, and If you treat your claim as though It's legitimate without raising any suspicion throughout the entire SE, this method has the highest chance of success to warrant a refund. After all, very few people (If any) will want to keep two Identical Items, and that's what makes It so effective - namely explaining to the rep that you have no need for a replacement Item. So on the grounds that you've already SEd an Item, and the rep has told you that a replacement will be dispatched shortly after your claim Is finalized, simply tell him that your wife (or husband If you're reading this as a female) surprised you by gifting the exact same product, hence you'd like a refund Instead. As you can see, this Is very convincing, thus there's no reason to decline your request for a refund.    

In Conclusion:

Every SE'er operates differently when hitting companies for refunds and replacements, therefore there Is no right or wrong when opting for one or the other, but I'd say It's very safe to assume that (unless you're using the serial number methodyou'd prefer cash over a duplicate replacement Item - which Is what prompted me to write this article. 

And If you've just started your career In the SEing sector, I can confidently say that you'd be at a loss as to how to manipulate reps to refund your account, but after reading every topic, you now have the knowledge to do It with relative ease. Advanced social engineers also tend to be Ill-Informed and If you're part of that equation, there Is no reason why you cannot have your funds reimbursed. Obviously, not every topic will apply to your SE, so select those that're relevant to your circumstances at the time of your attack vector