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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. 

Social Engineering Phones


The Best Methods To Social Engineer Cell Phones

Regardless of the store/retailer you're looking to SE, be It Apple who sometimes tends to offer what's called a "one-time exception" per account, whereby the claim Is approved without the need to go through their usual protocol, or the biggest eCommerce company named Amazon that's Inundated with orders and customer requests, hence they may not have the time to thoroughly check each and every claim and finalize many with minimal complications, It's Imperative not to be complacent with the SE you're planning to perform.

For example, If the "wrong Item received method" worked In your favor by saying a different product was In the package to what was originally ordered, or perhaps the missing Item method went well after the representative was told that upon opening the box It was empty and he Issued a refund thereafter, your confidence level will significantly Increase. As such, It's very easy to become fixated with the said methods (Inclusive of others that have succeeded), and hit other companies by using the very same strategy and approach.

However, just because the methods went according to plan consecutively on a few occasions, by no means Is It an Indication that they'll keep repeating In the same fashion. How so, you ask? Well, the moment your attack vector has been executed, and the SE Is In the hands of the rep/agent, you have no control of the steps taken during the evaluation of the claim. It's perfectly fine when a brain-dead representative approves It on the spot, but It's a totally different story with those who follow protocol and assess every minute detail.

When things like an Investigation opened, a police report asked to be filed and returned, and also an affidavit to be signed & emailed are all required by the company's team member, there's a high chance that difficulties will be experienced on your end - namely If you didn't take the time to formulate your method against the nature of the Item. In other words, In order to give the SE the best opportunity to succeed, It's crucial to prepare the method by covering every angle and leaving no room for error with Its respective product - which Is precisely the objective of this article.

Given there are countless Items all over the Internet and In-store, It's blatantly obvious that I cannot possibly cater for the lot, so I've focused on one of the hottest and sought-after commodities by SE'ers of all shapes & sizes - being "cell phones" - with particular attention to the "IPhone 12" as well as the "IPhone 13". What you will learn today, Is how to effectively and flawlessly apply three of the best methods (that I've personally handpicked), to the cell phone you're planning to social engineer - specifically the "wrong Item received", the "boxing method" and last but not least, the "sealed box method".

Before I discuss all of the above, when SEing phones, there's one element that can Impact the device to the point of rendering It non-functional, by way of unable to connect online via a carrier service, cannot send & receive calls, nor shooting off SMS messages back and forth. What's responsible for that, Is "blacklisting the phone's IMEI number" and If It happens to the one you've SEd, you may as well toss It In the trash - It's of very little to no use In Its offline state. Enough talk, let's make a start by delving Into the Ins and outs of an IMEI number.  

The IMEI Number Blacklisted

Generally speaking, an IMEI ("International Mobile Equipment Identity") number relates to devices that establish a connection to a cellular network Including, but not limited to, mobile phones, tablets (cellular-enabled) and smart watches, but to remain on-topic of this tutorial, I will talk about cell phones. Okay, because the Information Is added to the IMEI at the time the number Is hard-coded Into the device by the manufacturer, It doesn't Include personal credentials about the user It's registered to, therefore It only contains details about the device - the make, model, specifications etc.

But from a social engineering standpoint, namely after the phone has been refunded, the IMEI number can be used to "blacklist the device", which Is why some SE'ers are hesitant to target cell phones. Put simply, when you've successfully refunded a phone by, for example, using the "boxing method" (more on this In the topic after the next), you're not supposed to have the phone In your possession - someone apparently stole It while the package was In transit. As a result, Its IMEI number "may" (and not "will") be placed In a pool of blacklisted numbers - for the reason that the device Is believed to be stolen.

Essentially, when you try to activate the phone with a given carrier and It already knowns It's been stolen, It will be locked (blacklisted) out of their network, thus you cannot use their service. Furthermore, the blacklist updates across all carriers, so If you attempt to sign up with another one, your device will be rejected. And the same will happen with every other phone carrier In the country where the blacklist took place. Ultimately, you're left with a phone that (as mentioned) Is Incapable of making & receiving calls and messages and so on and so forth.

Now I'm not Implying the phone "will" be blacklisted - If It Is the case each and every time, there wouldn't be a single social engineer SEing an IPhone or an Android device. What I am saying, Is that there's a possibility It "may" be blacklisted, and It can occur at any stage after the claim was approved, and the refund generated Into your credit card or bank account. 

Under those circumstances, rather than taking It as a loss, get rid of the phone by "selling It" but given It can't be connected to a phone carrier and Is pretty much useless, you'd need to anonymize yourself to prevent being tracked by the buyer. I suggest reading my guide on how to do It effectively. All right, putting all that aside and on the grounds the blacklist won't eventuate, we'll rip Into the first method called "the wrong Item received".

The Wrong Item Received Method

As Its name Implies, this Is used to say that when the package was delivered by the carrier and you opened It, a wrong Item was enclosed to what was originally purchased. In terms of a cell phone, that's what was ordered but something else was received.  Of course, the phone was Inside, but you're stating otherwise for SEing purposes. After contacting the rep and Informing him about the (apparent) mistake, you'll be Instructed to "send the wrong Item back", and a refund will only be processed when you've complied with their request

As simple as It may sound, you cannot choose the first Item (as the "wrong Item") that comes to mind, and expect the SE to run smoothly. Sure, there are times when representatives are half-asleep on the job and approve claims with very little to no questions asked, but for the most part, they do thoroughly check returns prior to Issuing refunds and replacements. As such, to give the SE the best chance of success, It's paramount to "use a strategic approach and be selective with the wrong Item you've pretended to receive" as follows.

Just remember that the company did not dispatch a wrong Item, so you'd need to make It seem as though they did and the way It's done, Is by purchasing the wrong Item (that only costs a few dollars or so) "from the SAME company on a completely different account". It's also very Important "It's sent to another address", and "weighs as close as possible to the cell phone you've 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'll think that they've Incorrectly dispatched the product to your home. As a result, a refund or replacement will be Issued for the original Item - the cell phone you've purchased. Now that you have a clear understanding of how the wrong Item received method operates, let's check out the "boxing method".

The Boxing Method

There are quite a number of ways this method can be formulated and executed, but for the purpose of this tutorial and to keep It simple, I'll demonstrate only the one example. Also referred to as "box" on Its own, the "boxing method" works by buying an Item (In this case, a cell phone) and then contact the rep/agent and tell him It's not turning on. Naturally, It's fine, but you're claiming It Isn't to manipulate the rep to send out another phone, or credit your bank account for the full cost of the purchase price. The representative will then go through a few routine troubleshooting steps - to try and and Identify why the phone Is not functioning as per Its factory state.

Everything he asks you to do, such as pressing the on & off power buttons, putting It on charge, (where applicable) take the battery out and sliding It back In etc, you'll remain adamant that It's still not working. When he's satisfied the phone Is (what he believes to be) defective, he'll arrange a refund or replacement, but "only when your broken one Is returned". Obviously, you have no Intention of sending It back, and that's when the "boxing method" comes Into action, by returning the box/package without the phone. The objective of this method, Is to make It appear as though the package was tampered with In transit, and someone stole your phone before It arrived to the company.

To do that, cut It on one side and seal It with different coloured tape, so when the company receives It, they'll think that someone ripped open the package/box, took your phone and to cover their tracks, tapped It thereafter. Now this part Is very Important, so pay attention to what's written. Given packages are weighed on consignment (at the carrier's depot etc), there cannot be a huge variance In weight with your return. Why? Well, If It's significantly lighter when weighed, It Indicates the phone Is not enclosed, and I don't need to explain what will happen with your claim! 

An excellent methodology to substitute the weight of the phone, Is to add dry Ice and because It sublimates, meaning It turns from Its solid form of carbon dioxide to gas, there's no residue left behind when received by the company, hence there'd be no signs of It ever existing. In simple terms, the package containing the dry Ice would "weigh correctly at the carrier's depot", but will turn to gas when It reaches the company. As a result and on the grounds they're responsible for loss of goods during shipment (research this beforehand!), they're liable to cover all expenses, thus a refund/replacement will be Issued. Be sure to read my guide on how to use dry Ice constructively. 

The Sealed Box Method

The last and most effective method I'll be discussing, Is called the "sealed box method", which has a proven track record of having a very high success rate with not only cell phones, but also against every company on any scale. As you can Imagine, It's way beyond the scope of this post to write about the make & model of every phone, so I've focused on how to apply the method to both the "IPhone 12" and the "IPhone 13". But first, I will briefly Introduce Its formulation as follows. It works by purchasing an Item that's "fully enclosed In a cardboard box on all six sides", and contains one or more factory seals and/or wrapped In clear film.

You'd then meticulously open the box making sure not to damage any part of It, then take the Item out, and replace It with anything of equal weight - preferably something similar to the original product. When "resealing the box", It must be done without showing any signs of tampering whatsoever, and the end result should be an exact representation of how It was purchased from the company - with the "seal/seals/film" maintained In Its manufacturer's state. If you haven't worked It out by now, the purpose of the sealed box method Is to "seemingly" return the product you've bought (due to a change of mind etc) that appears to be In Its untouched condition, and receive a refund at a later date.

Realistically, you've "sent back another Item that you replaced earlier on". Essentially, when the company accepts your return, they'll see there's no signs of Inconsistencies with the box, and assume It's the real deal. It will then be scanned, put back Into stock and your bank account will be credited within x-amount of business days. What you've just read, relates to using the sealed box method with any compatible product and Its packaging, but this article pertains to SEing phones, so we'll first have a look at preparing the method with the "IPhone 12".   

The Sealed Box Method With An IPhone 12

Upon reading the topic above on formulating the sealed box method, It may seem like an easy task but given there are so many goods with boxes that're sealed differently by the factory, It's vital to assess how each one Is packaged, and then apply the method according to Its nature. In terms of the "Apple IPhone 12", the first thing to note, Is that It doesn't have any seals on the box Itself, but Is rather fully wrapped In clear film with a small tab at the bottom - which Is pulled upright to remove the entire film, and the phone Is accessed by opening the lid on the box thereafter. 

The film serves the same purpose as any type of seal - It secures the contents to help prevent tampering, but It can easily be resealed with the correct "tools" at your disposal, and here's how to do It. Instead of attempting to pull apart the film and put It back together again without damaging It (which Is a very arduous process), you'll be using another approach that will ultimately do the job to perfection. How so, you ask? Well, notice how I've quoted "tools" just above? That's because It's precisely what you'll be utilizing.

Unbeknownst to a lot of SE'ers, a "heat sealer machine" can be purchased from here or here, which Is a tool used to seal bags/film by applying heat that can be adjusted with various temperature levels. It's abbreviated as "PFS" - Plastic Film Sealer, and Is exactly what's needed for the IPhone 12. Evidently, the factory film Is also required, so grab It from here or from Alibaba. In the event the links are dead, use the site's search function and enter the relative keywords. All In all, the tools are a small Investment for a huge profit when the SE succeeds.  

The Sealed Box Method With An IPhone 13

As of writing this article, the IPhone 13 Is the very latest release and given Its packaging has significantly changed compared to the IPhone 12, many social engineers have difficulties opening and resealing It to not show signs of tampering. The reason for It, Is that It has "two long strip paper pull tab seals" that're glued at the top & bottom of the box, and the only way to take out the phone, Is to pull the strip (seals) from one end to the other until they're fully removed. Apple has certainly done well to "help prevent" anyone with fraudulent Intent, to access and refund the phone using anything to the likes of the sealed box method.

That being said, SEing Is all about manipulating every obstacle and entity to your advantage and the sealed box method against the IPhone 13, Is definitely part of the equation. Can you see how I've quoted "help prevent" In the paragraph just above? That's because Apple "cannot prevent It", no matter how secure their anti-tamper protection on the IPhone's external packaging has been Implemented. Here's how the sealed box method Is performed without leaving any Inconsistencies when the job Is finished.

As you are aware, the box can only be opened by tearing off the seals, so rather than concentrating on finding ways to do It and not damage them In any way, shape, or form, there's an excellent alternative to give the Impression of a perfectly sealed box - and that Is to purchase the packaging box sealing stickers for the IPhone 13 from here or here. Essentially, you don't have to worry about the original seals - they'll be replaced with the ones you've bought, so the only thing of concern, Is to flawlessly apply the new seals -  which Is not hard at all. If need be, take an entire week! 

In Conclusion

This article has exceeded Its reading time by a lot more than what I Initially anticipated, and with very good reason - to provide you with the knowledge, tools, resources and skill set on how to social engineer cell phones by using a number of very effective traditional methods

And If you're similar to the majority of SE'ers who prefer an IPhone over other platforms, you now have the perfect Ingredients to formulate the "sealed box method", thereby give the SE the best opportunity to obtain a refund. In closing, I'd like to reiterate that It's Impossible to cater for every type of cell phone, so be sure to use what you've learned as a general guide when looking to SE a phone manufacturer of your choice.