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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. 

Methods That Require Returns


Methods That Require Items To Be Returned

There are a lot of complexities Involved when hitting companies for refunds and/or replacement Items, particularly when dealing with representatives who work strictly by the book and thoroughly assess claims, as opposed to those who're half asleep on the job and credit accounts with little to no questions asked. Many difficulties that occur after the attack vector has been executed, are Inevitable and not a direct result of the social engineer's actions, but rather measures that are put In place by the company to continue with their evaluation

For Instance, because of the nature of the DNA method, things like an Investigation opened and a police report (PR) asked to be filed & returned, are very common procedures - with the former (Investigation) taking place In over 90% of cases. Requests to sign documents Is also likely when using the DNA, as well as (for some stupid reason) with the missing Item method, but If you've been SEing on an Intermediate or advanced level, you'd well and truly know that all those events are simply part of company protocol to move forward with the claim and nothing more

Sure, It's an Inconvenience to grab a PR by having to attend your local police station and explain (for example) the Incident of the package not arriving at your address, and then waiting weeks or sometimes months for an Investigation to finalize, but If the Item In question Is a gaming laptop or the latest IPhone, It's certainly well worth the time and effort. What you've just read pertaining to the series of events causing Issues to some degree, Is pretty much standard practice during the claim's assessment, and any Involvement on your part such as the police report, Is done with minimal disruptions.

However, the same cannot be said with one particular request that's known to have a significant Impact on SE'ers of all shapes and sizes - to the point of affecting their ability to keep the SE flowing In a positive direction. What I'm referring to, Is when reps/agents "ask to return the product you're currently SEing" and If you neglect to comply, the claim will most likely be declined. As a result, It's paramount to have sound knowledge of "the methods that require Items to be returned", hence you'll be In a position to tackle every request way In advance, thereby "bypass sending the Item back" efficiently and effectively.

So how do you pinpoint the methods that're responsible for return of goods? Rest assured, I've got you covered. I will discuss each one that triggers a return, Inclusive of the best methodologies to circumvent It - because that's exactly the objective of this article - "Identify the methods, and not have the need to dispatch your product back to the company". What you're about to read In the topics below, begins by Introducing the method's formulation, and ends with a short description on how to manipulate and (where applicable) avoid the return. Okay, without further delay, let's get this started.

The Faulty Item Method:

Have you ever bought something with some type of electrical and/or mechanical functionality, and upon switching It on or plugging It Into a power socket or otherwise, It was completely dead? I'd say your answer Is "yes" on at least one occasion. Although goods are tested by the manufacturer, they're not always In faultless condition - factory defects are Inevitable and companies are aware of It, but keep It to themselves. Social engineers are also well Informed of Its existence, and use It to their advantage with "the faulty Item method", by saying the product they've purchased stopped working a little while later, or It didn't function to begin with.

Of course, there's nothing wrong with It, but the SE'er Is stating the opposite for the purpose of the SE. He'll then get In touch with the rep/agent and tell him about the Issue. Under the circumstances, It Is routine procedure for the rep to go through a few troubleshooting steps to try and determine why It's not operating as per Its original state. Everything he asks you to do to see whether your Item works, you'll obviously say that It doesn't. When he's satisfied It's defective, he will approve the claim, but ONLY when the (seemingly) broken one Is returned. No doubt, you're going to bypass the return, so we'll have a look at how It's done next.        

How To Circumvent The Return

If the product weight Is under 120 grams, send the box/package on Its own by using the boxing method. If It significantly exceeds that limit, still stick with the boxing method, but add dry Ice as a weight substitute. Some companies like HP, Lenovo and Dell offer what's called an Advanced Replacement (or Advanced Exchange - same thing), whereby they send a new unit and you're supposed to return the old one - which Is common with computer monitors. In such a case, It's crucial to anonymize your Identity, use a drop house for the delivery, and protect your payment system, hence you will not be traced for failing to comply with the return.      

The Wrong Item Received Method:

Errors In picking & packing happen In every warehouse, regardless of the company's state of the art logistics facilities and as such, social engineers use the "wrong Item received method", to say that a totally different Item was In the package/box when the carrier dropped It off at their premises. This method works by placing your order and when the package arrives, call the company and claim that you've received another product to what was originally purchased

Naturally and stating the obvious, nothing of the sort happened - It's just an excuse to SE the rep for a refund or replacement. Unless your purchased Item Is very cheap and the cost of freight to send It back Is more than the cost of the Item Itself, the representative will ask to return "the wrong Item" (that you pretended to receive) and when they have It, your claim will be approved. Now rather than trying to circumvent the return, you will "send the wrong Item" as discussed In the following subtopic.

How To Apply The Wrong Item Return

Just remember that you did not receive a wrong Item, therefore you need to buy one from the SAME company on a different account (sent to another address) that only costs a few dollars or so, and weighs roughly the same as the one you ordered. That Is the wrong Item you'll send back!  So when the company receives It, they'll scan It, see that It's part of their Inventory, and because It was bought on another account and Is a stock Item of theirs, they'd assume an Incorrect product was dispatched to your address. As a result, a refund or replacement will be generated for the original Item.    

The Sealed Box Method:

This Is one of my favorite methods, for the fact that It can be used with a broad range of Items, and the likelihood of Its success Is extremely high - but only when SE'ers take extra care to apply It In a systematic fashion. You'll see what I mean shortly. Okay, let's say you're planning to SE a "GPU" from any retailer of your choice. Upon receiving It, you'd send It back for a refund by using their return options (example: bought by mistake, change of mind, no longer needed etc), but Instead of returning the GPU, "pack anything of equal weight" and seal the box In Its factory condition

When the Inwards goods department accepts your return, they'll see there's no signs of tampering, and be under the Impression that you've sent the box In the same state as the purchased product. It will then be placed back Into stock, and your bank account will be credited within x-amount of business days. As mentioned In the paragraph above, for the sealed box method to succeed, a methodical approach must be applied when formulating the method - as one wrong move may end up ruining the entire SE. Check out what's Involved In the subtopic below.    

How To Prepare The Sealed Box Return

To ensure a successful SE, It's absolutely vital that the box Is fully covered In cardboard on all six sides (without any clear film on It), and Is also manufactured with some type of factory seal, and the box Is resealed to perfection Why? Well, as you're aware, the objective of the sealed box method Is to "make It appear as though you're returning exactly what you received", hence there cannot be any Inconsistences on the box, particularly the seal(s) - as this Is the first place It will be checked. You're not working on a schedule, so take all the time you need to open and flawlessly reseal It. 

The Broken Glass Method:

Although the broken glass method Is not commonly utilized In today's world of company manipulation and exploitation, by no means Is It less effective than the methods you've had the pleasure of reading thus far. Actually, It's a very constructive method, for the fact that If you've ordered a bottle of perfume or cologne and awaiting the delivery from the carrier, the glass could have broken at any time from when It was dispatched by the company, to the shipment travelling In transit, and when the package was handled by various workers at the carrier's depot. 

As such, It's virtually Impossible for the company/carrier to "provide evidence showing the Item remained In one piece throughout Its journey" - which Is the reason why It has a high success rate. If you haven't figured It out yet, the broken glass method Is used by contacting the rep/agent and telling him that much to your surprise and disappointment, "the perfume/cologne (or almost anything else shipped In glass), was broken" when the driver dropped off the package at your home. Now some companies will ask for a photo of the damage to process the refund, so either Photoshop It or use the corrupted file method. But there are others who want to visually Inspect the bottle, so you'd need to circumvent the return, as discussed next.  

How To Circumvent The Return

The way to avoid sending the damaged bottle back, Is very similar to what you've read with the faulty Item method  In the first topic of this article, so I won't bother going Into too much detail - It will be a waste of my time and yours. In simple terms, put the boxing method Into action and given the empty bottle (or pieces of glass) Is as light as a feather, dry Ice Is obviously not required. Be sure to click on the link and follow my guide on how to effectively box the company.

The Serial Number Method:

The most popular methodology to social engineer online stores, Is to buy the Item first and then use any of the traditional methods to get a refund or replacement. The main advantage of this approach, Is that there Is (where applicable) more than one suitable method, thereby you can select the one that has the highest degree of success. It's all well and good when the funds are readily available, but not every SE'er has money to spare, and that's when "the serial number method" Is put Into practice. Evidently, this relates to goods that contain serials such as Apple AirPods, computer keyboards, SSDs, laptops, and the list goes on.

The method works by grabbing a serial number from anywhere online (that's still under warranty) of the Item you wish to SE. You'd then use It to manipulate the representative, by saying the Item that the serial belongs to, Is not working. As with the faulty Item method, he'll proceed with some troubleshooting steps, and when you've convinced him It's not functioning, one of two things will take place - you'll be asked to provide a POD (Proof Of Destruction), or send the product to the company for evaluation. Read my guide on how to bypass the POD. In terms of evading the return, It can be done using one of many methods as outlined below

How To Circumvent The Return

The good thing about SEing technology-based products, Is that they're compatible with more than just the one method (Inclusive of boxing). For Instance, almost every tech product can be used with the "disposed of the faulty Item method", and If It has batteries and they're susceptible to leaks, the "leaking battery method" Is also an option. While both these "quoted" methods will certainly do the job, there are times when stubborn reps won't budge and still Insist on sending the Item back. As a result, It's Imperative to familiarize yourself with avoiding the return with the "disposed of the faulty Item" and the "leaking battery method". I've covered each one respectively In the following topics.    

The Disposed Of The Faulty Item Method:

This Is closely related to the faulty Item method (as per the first topic), whereby you'd buy an electrical or technological Item, then contact the company's customer support agent and claim It's defective. The events that happen thereafter with the "disposed of the faulty Item method" differ -  namely the way the product Is treated by you, the social engineer, thus the method Is purely focused on that. Okay, as you're aware, once the rep/agent Is told of the non-functional Item, he'll troubleshoot It to try and rectify the problem and when nothing more can be done to fix It, you will be asked to return It - which clearly Is not your Intention to do so. Keep on reading to find out how It's circumvented.  

How To Circumvent The Return

Continuing from the topic above, BEFORE It gets to the troubleshooting stage of your conversation, the disposed of the faulty Item method  Is put Into action, by telling the rep your Item "blew up" or "caught fire" and It was Immediately thrown In the trash for health & safety concerns. What makes this so effective, Is that companies take "health & safety" very seriously and have measures to address every Incident, hence they must comply with the applicable regulations. In doing so, and If you stick with your story of disposing the Item (for health & safety reasons), as well as pushing the rep to his limit, the claim has a high chance of being approved without having to send the product back.

The Leaking Battery Method:

When SEing any product that requires batteries to function, as Its name Implies, SE'ers use "the leaking battery method" to say that the Item they've ordered (example: a laptop) from an online retailer, was delivered with Its battery/batteries leaking. As an SE'er yourself, you should know that It's not the case at all - It's solely an excuse to SE the company. The main reason this method has a pretty good success rate, Is because the company and/or carrier cannot prove that your Item was delivered In perfect condition as per the manufacturer's state.

Anything could've happened to It from the moment It was dispatched from the company's warehouse, and as such, the battery could have well and truly leaked during shipment and given It was fully enclosed In Its box/package (thus It cannot be viewed externally), there Is no evidence to suggest that the Item was delivered unscathed. No doubt, all these events are In support of your SE, but It's not as easy as claiming the battery leaked and receiving a refund sometime later - the majority of stores will expect you to send It back, which brings me to the final subtopic below.       

How To Circumvent The Return

Upon contacting the representative and Informing him of the (seemingly) leaking battery, If It's a high value Item worth In the thousands of dollars, It's almost guaranteed that a request will be made to return It, and a refund/replacement will only be Issued after the product has been Inspected. Circumventing the return, Is the same as the disposed of the faulty Item method  that you've just read a few minutes ago, therefore I won't repeat what you already know - simply refer to It to refresh your memory.        

In Conclusion:

What prompted me to write this article, Is due to the fact that a lot of social engineers who choose any or all of the methods discussed, neglect to consider the Item's return and by the time they realize It must be bypassed, they have no Idea how It should be done. Perhaps they're not familiar with the method Itself? Or maybe they've been misinformed by fellow SE'ers on the method's formulation? 

Whatever the case may be, It's absolutely crucial to have a solid understanding of "why a given return Is requested, and how to circumvent It thereafter". In closing, you've now attained the skill set to effectively avoid sending the Item back, so be sure to apply your knowledge accordingly.