Beginner's Sealed Box Method

 


Beginner's Guide To The Sealed Box Method

As a complete novice In the social engineering sector looking to get Into the scene for the very first time, It can be quite an arduous task making a start with the art of "company manipulation and exploitation". While there are many online sources to sift through to the likes of active social engineering boards/forums and Discord servers who're dedicated to discussing ways to deceive companies for refunds and replacement Items, seldom are there messages and posts talking about step-by-step procedures In a manner that's purely from a beginner's standpoint - which Is what prompted me to write this article.

Moreover, you'll find that they all abbreviate their terminology - such as SE'er, SEing, SE, DNA, PEB, LIT, SN and the list goes on, and If you're reading this as a newcomer to human hacking, you'd be at a total loss as to what each one refers to (don't worry, I've listed the abbreviations here). The very same applies to, what we call In social engineering parlance, a "method" - If you've yet to come across a method before, no doubt you'd be clueless about Its Involvement and the significant role It plays with each attack vector. Confused? Rest assured, there's no cause for concern - I've got you covered. 

Given It's way beyond the scope of this article to document a tutorial for every method used to hit online retailers like John Lewis, Nike, Zalando, Amazon and so forth, I will Introduce you to one that's very popular among SE'ers of all shapes & sizes named "the sealed box method". I will also discuss how to effectively prepare It, as well as what to expect when It's In motion and the events that may happen after the return has been finalized. To finish off, I've created a list of suitable Items which can be used as a general guide when the time comes for you to formulate the sealed box method. 

Put simply, this Is aimed at "beginner social engineers" who have either never had the opportunity to put the sealed box method Into practice, or are experiencing difficulties understanding the mechanics of Its structure and overall preparation. Because everything you're about to read pertains to beginners, the topics are simple and straight to the point, therefore It will allow you to grasp and understand how the sealed box method works with Incredible ease. Okay, given you're a newbie, I'll kick off this article with the Ins and outs of a "social engineering method", so let's rip Into It.          

What Is A Social Engineering Method?

When you've selected the company you'll be targeting and researched their terms & conditions, the next step Is to create a "strategy" on how you're going to execute the attack and manipulate their representatives afterwards. That Is, you need a "plan" that will be used to guide the SE from beginning to end.  And the "plan" Is the "method" and without It, your SE cannot, and will not, make a start. To give you an Insight Into the way a method Is applied, here's an analogy that you can relate to. 

Let's say you've bought a bedroom suite from your local furniture store that comes with dressing tables, a tallboy, bedside tables & mirrors and obviously the bed Itself with wooden slats-  In Its collapsed form. To put It all together and successfully complete the task at hand, you'd need the "assembly Instructions", and If they're missing or belong to a different type of bedroom suite, the job cannot be done. The same principle applies to social engineering - In this case, the "assembly Instructions" Is the "method" which supports what you're aiming to achieve - a refund or replacement Item. Understood? Good!

Now It's not as easy as choosing a product, and opting for the first method that comes to mind. Apart from the DNA (Did  Not Arrive) and the wrong Item received, both of which can be used with almost any Item of reasonable size & weight, every other traditional method must be based on the nature of the Item - and the "sealed box method" Is certainly no exception, namely Its "packaging". One wrong move or an error In judgement when preparing the method, can expose your Intentions. So what Is the sealed box method, and what purpose does It serve?  We'll check It out right now.  


What Is The Sealed Box Method?

I must say, this Is one of my favorite methods, for the fact that It has a proven track record of having a very high success rate with every company on any scale. And If you carefully read what's written from this point onwards and absorb every word of my recommendations, you'll attain the skill set to apply the method with extreme accuracy. Okay, I'll cut to the chase and explain It 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. What happens next, Is the most Important part of the method's formulation, so pay attention to what I'm saying. 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 objective of the sealed box method Is to "seemingly" return the product you've bought (due to a change of mind or otherwise) which appears to be In Its untouched condition, and receive a refund thereafter. Realistically, you've sent back another Item that you replaced earlier on. Essentially, when the company accepts your return, they'll see that 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 ex-amount of business days. You're most likely wondering how to flawlessly open and reseal the box, which brings me to the next topic.  


How To Apply The Sealed Box Method:

Upon reading the last couple of paragraphs on putting together the sealed box method, It may sound like a quick and simple task, but nothing could be further from the truth. Because there are so many goods with boxes that are packaged and sealed differently by the factory, applying the sealed box method Is done on a case-by-case basis. For Instance, the same methodology cannot be used on both a laptop and an IPhone 13. The former (laptop), commonly has a plastic adhesive seal on the top and/or bottom of the box, and as for the IPhone 13, there are a couple of tamper proof paper pull tab seals and the only way to open the box, Is to lift each tab/seal and pull It across from left to right.

Of course, other products require alternative measures to take apart their packaging, but I cannot possibly cover each and every one, hence for the purpose of this tutorial, I shall focus on using the sealed box method with "laptops" In general, and specifically the "IPhone 13". The reason I've chosen them Is firstly, they're a very popular Item to social engineer and secondly, due to the nature of their packaging, each one Is completely different In how It's opened and resealed. As such, It will give you a pretty good understanding of how to apply a similar approach to other Items you're planning to SE with the sealed box method. Enough talk, let's begin with tackling a computer laptop.           


Using The Sealed Box Method With A Laptop   

Before I make a start, do note that this Is not based on any particular laptop, but rather demonstrates how most units are packaged by the manufacturer, so be sure to allow some flexibility with the one you'll be SEing. Moving forward, there are quite a few laptops that are packed In a box with a factory seal on the top & bottom that says something along the lines of: "Check contents If seal Is broken". This Is the first place the representative (or whoever Is handling your return), will look - which also applies to every product secured with a seal, so keep It In mind at all times.  

If It's easy to peel using a hairdryer on the lowest heat setting, or perhaps carefully placing a thin blade on the underside of the seal and gently lifting without damaging It, fine, go ahead and use either of the two techniques. But do remember the most Important part - to "reseal It with no Imperfections!". To do that, use clear glue that doesn't leave residue behind or If the adhesive Is still Intact on the seal, firmly press It back Into place. Alternatively, navigate to this site and see whether a suitable seal/tape Is available and If so, I don't need to explain It - you know what to do.

On the other hand, many seals are almost Impossible to remove In one piece, thus under such circumstances, leave It be and target "where the box Is joined" - with the Intention to Identify the weakest and easiest point where It can be pulled apart without causing damage. After replacing the laptop with another Item of equal weight, simply glue It back together again. I've personally done It on a couple of laptop boxes and the end result, was an exact representation of the original one, therefore there was no reason to check my return and a refund was processed. 


Using The Sealed Box Method With An IPhone 13 

At the time of this post, the IPhone 13 Is the very latest release and given Its packaging has significantly changed as opposed to the IPhone 12, a lot of social engineers have difficulties opening and resealing It to not show It was tampered with. The reason for that, Is because 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 strips (seals) from one end to the other until they're fully removed. Unlike the methodology with the laptop elaborated In the topic above, the IPhone 13 box cannot be opened where It's joined - as It will damage the seals and Indicate signs of tampering.

Apple have certainly done well to "help prevent" anyone with fraudulent Intent to access Its contents, but SEing Is all about manipulating every obstacle and entity to your advantage, and using the sealed box method against the IPhone 13 Is definitely part of the equation. Notice how I've quoted "help prevent" just above? That's because Apple "cannot prevent It", no matter how secure their anti-tamper protection on the phone'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're aware, the box can only be opened by tearing off the seals, so Instead of concentrating on finding ways to do It and not damage them In any way, shape, or form, there's an excellent alternative that will 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, hence the only thing of concern, Is to flawlessly apply the new seals - which Is not too difficult at all. If need be, take an entire week! You will succeed In the end.      


What To Expect With The Sealed Box Method:

What you've just had the pleasure of reading so far, was all done within your local environment, by formulating the sealed box method (with precision) In readiness for the attack vector - namely organizing to send your goods to the company for a refund/replacement. However, the moment your attack Is executed, you have very little to no control of what happens within the confines of the company, thus It's crucial to have some knowledge of how your claim Is handled by the reps.

As such, If they hit you with all sorts of questions and requests, you'll be In a position to effectively tackle their demands. In terms of the sealed box method Itself, there are "5 events" that may (and not will) be experienced when the company receives your return, and also when It's sold to another customer sometime further down the track. I've listed each event In the subtopics below and to avoid congestion and make It easy to follow, I've added a short description on what they relate to.


The Box Is Scanned On Return 

In today's warehousing & logistics and freight & distribution, every major retailer who operates on a large scale, uses "scanning systems" to monitor their movement of stock. As a result, when sending your SE sealed box for a refund, It's Imperative that "It's the actual box that you purchased" so when they scan It, It will come up as part of their Inventory, and your claim for a refund will move forward thereafter.    


The Box Is Weighed On Return 

In order to verify shipments and process returns Into the company's Inventory, boxes, packages, parcels etc are weighed at the Inwards goods centre, and a record Is kept of each consignment - which can be used to cross-check the details with the carrier when an Investigation Is opened. If a discrepancy Is found, It may well expose your SEing Intention, which Is why "there must not be a significant variance In weight with your sealed box return"


The Box Is Possibly Checked For Tampering

It's paramount that your finished sealed box Is a duplicate of the original, namely because there Is every chance your return will be checked (externally) by the workers at the company's receiving area. If Imperfections are noticed on the box, especially a "damaged seal", then It will give them every reason to look Into It further. I'm not saying It "will" be checked, but rather It "may" be checked, therefore your sealed box must be returned In faultless condition.


The Box Is Possibly Opened & Checked

Even though you've resealed the box without any signs of Inconsistencies, for one reason or another, (on the rare occasion) It may be opened and Its contents checked, which would leave you with no choice but to legitimately send back the original product for a refund. But to do that, you'd have to come up with a very believable excuse. One of many, Is to say that you were In a rush when preparing to send It back, and mistakenly put the Incorrect Item In the box. To justify why It was resealed to perfection, tell the rep you were concerned that a damaged box would void your entitlement for a refund.    


Another Buyer Will Purchase Your Return 

There's no doubt that every Item returned In Its original and saleable condition, Is placed back Into stock awaiting to be sold to the next customer - who will In fact buy your sealed box return, and obviously receive something completely different to what he paid for. Many SE'ers are worried that this will be traced back to them, but It's not the case at all. Once the product has been returned, put Into stock, then picked, packed, dispatched, passed onto the carrier and finally delivered, It goes through so many hands, thus It's Impossible to pinpoint It to the social engineer.  


Items Suited To The Sealed Box Method:

To reiterate the requirements of the sealed box method, the box must be "fully covered In cardboard on all six sides", and It's absolutely essential to be "secured with one or more factory seals and/or film" affixed by the manufacturer. Because of those prerequisites, It's vital to be selective with the Item you're planning to SE - Its packaging must be fully compatible with the above-quoted  necessities. So how do you Identify and establish a suitable product? 

Well, It's really quite simple by navigating to YouTube and entering the keywords: "(Your Item) unboxing" - evidently replacing "Your Item" with your product's description. It will clearly demonstrate the nature of the box, and whether It contains a seal/film to prevent tampering. If It's appropriate, you're good to go with the sealed box method. To give you an understanding of what to take on board when choosing your Item, I've created a small list below, and have also detailed the type of seal(s) and where they're located on the box.

  • Apple IPhone 13 - Two long strip paper pull tab seals at the top & bottom on the underside of the box
  • Apple AirPods 3rd Generation - Same as above, but smaller box dimensions
  • GoPro Hero 9 Action Camera - One paper pull tab seal at the bottom of the box
  • Acer Nitro 5 Gaming Laptop - A small single (square) seal at the top of the box
  • Bose QC35 Series II - Wrapped In factory clear film that's similar to a seal
  • Kingston Internal SSD - Same as above, clear film to secure the box
  • Logitech G502 Gaming Mouse - A small clear rectangular seal at the top of the box
  • NVIDIA RTX 3080 GPU - Two small clear square seals on both ends of the box
  • IPad Mini 5 - A long plastic strip along the length of the box that's used to take apart the clear film

In Conclusion:

Now that this article has come to an end, and on the grounds you've read each and every topic/subtopic, you'd realize that the sealed box method refers to technology-based products. I've Intentionally decided on that, for the fact that the majority of goods are commonly packaged with tamper-proof seals and/or film, thereby It fulfils the objective of this entire guide. Naturally, the sealed box method Is not limited to tech Items, but for simplicity, I've only discussed that category. 

In closing and as per a few Items In the topic above, I'd like to point out that boxes wrapped In clear film from the factory, serve the same purpose as a seal - If It's ripped, It's been tampered with. If you're having Issues resealing the clear film, such as the one typically applied on the IPhone 12, use this heat sealer machine and buy the film from this site, and use the website's search function to locate packaging film for other products. 


Comments

  1. What method would you recommend to refund a graphics card from Amazon (gigabyte doesn't have seals on outside of box) besides DNA/Missing Item (goes to mail room with cameras, and item too heavy for missing item)?

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