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Updated: 10/11/2021:    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. 

Missing Item Tampered Method

 


The Box/Package Was Tampered With & The Item Was Missing 

With regard to social engineering online stores that utilize a carrier partner to service their deliveries, the objective Is to deceive their representatives to credit accounts or dispatch replacement Items at their expense, thereby the SE'er gets to keep the original product. In order to successfully do that, there must be a "plan" In place that fully supports the attack vector, and guides It In the right direction throughout the entire duration of the SE and In social engineering parlance, the "plan" Is called a "method". It's basically a set of Instructions that tells the SE where It should be travelling, and how It will achieve the result you're after - a refund or replacement.

If you're new to the SEing sector, namely "company manipulation and exploitation", I'd say It's safe to assume that you have very little knowledge of what methods entail, so I'll explain It by using a scenario that you can relate to. Let's say you've purchased a large computer desk In Its collapsed form that contains draws, shelving, cabinets etc. To put It together, you'll need the "assembly Instructions" which will guide you every step of the way towards achieving your goal, but If the Instructions happen to be missing, you will either fail to complete the task, or have a very difficult (and lengthy) time trying to finish off your project.

The same principle applies to social engineering. As per the above example, the "assembly Instructions" Is the "method" and If It's not suited to the nature of the Item, or you neglect It altogether, then the SE will fail. Sure, many SEs are approved on the spot, but that's due to reps who totally lack common sense (or perhaps dealing with chat bots), as opposed to those who follow company protocol and guidelines by working strictly by the book when evaluating claims. In such circumstances, It's Imperative that the method Is formulated to perfection and on-topic of this article, the "missing Item tampered method" Is certainly no exception. More on this In a few moments. 

If you're reading this from an Intermediate or advanced SEing standpoint who's been hitting companies to the likes of John Lewis, Lenovo, Asos and Amazon by using traditional methods such as the DNA, wrong Item received, sealed box, boxing etc, you'd be quite familiar with how they're structured, but I'd say you've never heard of the "missing Item tampered method", correct? I thought as much. That's because I'm the author of the method by naming It as such, and I can confidently say that It's one of the most effective methods that you'll have the pleasure of using. So what exactly Is the missing Item tampered method? Before I discuss It, you need to have a clear understanding of the good old "missing Item method" - as both methods have a very close relationship. So without further delay, let's get this started.       

What Is The Missing Item Method?

Given this method Is the foundation of the missing Item tampered method, It's vital to be well acquainted with how It's structured and prepared In readiness for your attack vector, so be sure to absorb every word from this point onwards. Okay, as Its name Implies, the "missing Item method" Is used by SE'ers to say that the Item they ordered from an online retailer, was missing when the package/box was opened right after It was delivered by the carrier. For Instance, we'll pretend that you've bought "one stick of Ram/Memory" from (who else but) Amazon and had It sent to your home by their carrier service. Upon "opening the box", you'd contact Amazon and tell the rep that nothing was Inside, meaning the Ram Itself was missing.

Alternatively, you can say that when you "opened the package" there was nothing Inside, meaning the box and the Ram was missing. Of course, you did receive your goods, but you're stating otherwise for SEing purposes. Allow me to elaborate how both of these alternatives work. When purely using the missing Item method, It's either a "warehouse error" or a "manufacturer error". The former (warehouse error), Is when you opened the "package" and nothing was Inside. That Is, the box and Its contents were not enclosed. This can happen when the storeman picks your order (perhaps with a few others), and he's totally forgotten to grab your Item from the shelf/racking and either himself or the packing team, sealed the package with nothing Inside and dispatched It thereafter.

In terms of the manufacturer error, you'd claim that when you opened the "box", your Item was missing. Essentially, It was the manufacturer who didn't put the Item In the box and sent It to the company, therefore only the box was delivered to you. Believe It or not, both of these types of errors happen a lot more often than you think. Mistakes are Inevitable In every warehouse environment, particularly when they're Inundated with customer orders and deadlines must be met prior to close of business. The same can be said for manufacturer errors - things can go unnoticed at the final Inspection by the quality control team, hence shipments leave the factory without their respective Item In the box

Whichever of the two events (warehouse or manufacturer error) you choose, both are equally effective when you remain firm and stick with your story that the Item was missing. Now a crucial element that must be Implemented Into the method, Is "the weight of the Item" and If you neglect It altogether, there Is a very high chance that your SE will fail. So why Is the weight so Important? Well, unless the representative has no brain cells left and approves your claim with no questions asked, the nature of the method warrants an Investigation and If your Item Is rather heavy, It would've been detected when weighed, thus It could not have been missing and was In fact picked, packed and dispatched correctly - which will result In a failed SE. 

What's a safe weight to work with, you ask? As a rule of thumb, I always suggest not to exceed "120 grams", and that's actually pushing the SE to Its absolute limit. If you don't go over that weight, the majority of SEs will work In your favor, but I'm the type of SE'er who leaves nothing to chance by covering every angle, so I'll provide a weight that has over a 95% success rate. Where possible, I strongly recommend sticking to a limit of "40 grams" for the Item Itself (net weight), or the Item & Its packaging (gross/shipping weight). That's basically how the missing Item method  works and now that you comprehend It, you'll be able to adapt to the "missing Item tampered method" quite easily, so let's check It out next.    

What Is The Missing Item Tampered Method?

The "missing Item tampered method" Is based on the same principle as the one you've just read above, but with a slight variation In how It's executed. What this means Is, Instead of a warehouse or manufacturer error being responsible for not receiving your product, the Intention of this method Is to make It seem as though "the carrier driver, or whoever else handled your package", tampered with It In transit. As a result, your Item was stolen "just before" the package was dropped off at your address, drop house or any other location used to accept deliveries. Now unlike the missing Item method (above), the weight Is not as Important (but still relevant) when "solely using the missing Item tampered method" - namely because you're giving the Impression that someone tampered with your package and took your Item "while It was on Its way to your address/drop house".

So even If the company cross-checks the weight recorded at the carrier's depot and deems that your Item was enclosed In the package, It's pretty much useless. Why? Because "your Item was (seemingly) stolen during shipment AFTER It left the depot whilst being delivered to you". But to play It safe (particularly If an Investigation Is opened), keep the weight < 120 grams, preferably around 40 grams. You'll see why shortly. As said a little further up the page, this Is one of the most effective methods, but only when you apply and execute It In a strategic and calculated manner - and I'll show you precisely how to do It as follows. You've purchased and received your order and around 30 minutes later, you contacted the representative and told him that your product was missing when you opened the box/package. 

Now If he asks whether the seal on the box was broken and/or the package was torn, do not Immediately say that you noticed signs of tampering, but rather tell him that you'll try and find the box/package In the trash, and the moment you locate It, you'll get In touch with him straight away .Of course, you'll do nothing of the sort - It's only a manipulative tactic to appear as though you're on his side by trying to resolve the matter asap! So why use this approach? Well, If they plan on opening an Investigation and check the weight (that's very likely under the circumstances) they may approve your claim without requiring further Information from you - which Is why I've said to keep It within the 40/120 gram limit. But If they don't (approve It) and they're still awaiting your reply, that's when you'll say that you've found the box.

Simply tell the rep/agent that because you opened It from the opposite side, you noticed that the factory seal was not Intact and It appeared damaged. Do NOT go Into any more detail than what you have to - only what's needed to justify that the box did not come In Its original condition. Always allow him to ask the questions and If he queries the package that It came In, say that It's taped on one side and leave It at that - don't elaborate any further. What "you" are doing with the entire claim's process, Is that you're giving the SE a "double chance to succeed". The first Is for the company to make a decision with the Investigation and If they don't approve It at that stage, the second chance Is the signs of tampering on the box/package. Both of these manipulative events, Is what makes the missing Item tampered method so effective!      

Advantages Of The Missing Item Tampered Method:

Each and every method you use has Its pros and cons, and regardless of how much time you've spent formulating It against the nature of the company you've researched as well as effectively applying It to your compatible Item, It will contain a degree of weakness. As such, It's Imperative to "focus on all the positives of your method by evaluating Its strengths", and how they can be used to your advantage when your SE Is In progress. When you know the Ins and outs of a given method, It's not hard at all to segregate and Identify the key elements that will support your SE - It's really a matter of common sense and good judgement.     

For example and on-topic of this article, you're well aware that the missing Item tampered method suggests that someone (perhaps the carrier driver) ripped open your box/package, grabbed your product and your "delivery" was "received" without Its goods, so what do you believe are Its strengths In this case? Think about It logically for a minute by analyzing what you've just read. I've made It easy for you by quoting two operative words - specifically "delivery" and "received" - for the fact that the method Is based on the events that occurred during the delivery, and the condition of your package/box when you received It. If you consider all the relevant variables, both keywords (delivery and received) are pretty simple to spot, yes? I think so too. So let's have a look at the benefits of each one. 

Very Difficult To Determine What Happened In Transit

With regard to how companies manage their stock, whereby they must fulfill orders by picking, packing and dispatching each one In a manner that meets their customer needs and also complies with their policies & guidelines, they know exactly what they're doing within their local environment. However the same cannot be said with "their goods as they're travelling through the carrier's network", particularly when a package passed through many hands until It finally reached Its destination. Sure, GPS and tracking Information confirms that It made Its way to the correct address, but what's actually used to verify that "your product was enclosed at the time when the driver handed you the package?". I'll answer It for you - "nothing".

It's one thing sending a package to a given address and marking It as successfully delivered by using a signature or tracking details, but quite another to "conclusively establish precisely what It contained". Even If the weight of your Item Is recorded on the carrier's manifest and the company tries to use that to confirm that It's packed In the box/package, there Is absolutely no way they can provide solid evidence that your product Is still there "after It's left the depot and Is In transit" and due to arrive directly to your premises. 

It's very difficult, If not Impossible, for the company to conclude without a shadow of a doubt that your package was given to you "with your goods Inside"Even If photos are clearly taken of the package "of every angle" (which will never happen), It still doesn't determine "what's Inside", therefore the company/carrier cannot prove that It arrived to your house unscathed, and that's what significantly contributes to the missing Item tampered method's success.           

An OTP Has No Effect When Receiving The Package

What you're about to read, Is not tied to any particular company and carrier service and may vary depending on location and other factors, so be sure to use this as a general guide. Okay, If (for example) you're SEing a high value Item that retails In the thousands of dollars by using the DNA method, there's a high possibility that an "OTP" (One-Time Password) will be required to verify that the package was not only delivered to the right address, but was also personally received by yourself or an authorized member of your household. What this means, Is that the OTP will be sent to your cell phone or the registered email address on your account and when the driver arrives, you must tell/show him the password to accept your package.

If you don't give him the OTP, he has every right to refuse handing you the package, hence will mark It as an undelivered consignment. Although a one-time password can be circumvented with relative ease for those who have the skill set and know-how, I continue to come across countless social engineers who have a hard time bypassing It, thus refrain from using the DNA method In such circumstances. In terms of the missing Item tampered method, rest assured, an OTP has no Impact whatsoever. How so, you ask? Well, "receiving a package" has nothing to do with "what It contains" and because you're claiming there's nothing Inside, an OTP will not affect the SE In any way, shape, or form. So when you're In this scenario, go ahead and comply with the OTP - It cannot be used against you.  

In Conclusion:

The reason why the missing Item tampered method has a very high success rate (and as already discussed a couple of topics above), Is that companies have no control of the events that take place when packages are on board the carrier driver's delivery run. That Is, when It's In storage at the carrier's depot (just after It's been weighed) and then loaded Into the van/truck to be delivered to your address, It doesn't stop anyone from opening It and stealing your Item

The only downside to this method from an ethical social engineering perspective, Is that It may get the driver In trouble - as It most likely puts the responsibility on him. That being said, a passerby could've opened the package/box when It was sitting In the back of the van whilst It was parked, when the driver was away for a few minutes taking some boxes to a given building's reception area. Whatever the case may be, the only thing you're concerned with, Is that you didn't receive your Item - all because someone (seemingly) stole It before the package was dropped off at your house or drop address 


  

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