What To Expect With Claims

 



What To Expect When Your Claim Is Being Assessed

Each and every company you decide to hit to the likes of WayFair, Zalando, John Lewis, ASOS and so forth, Is first done by navigating to their website and researching their terms & conditions to see the grounds on which refunds and replacements are Issued, and the next step, Is to checkout their carrier partner(s) who will be servicing your delivery to establish whether an OTP (One-Time Password) or a signature will be required when accepting your goods from the driver. After you've collected all the relevant details pertaining to their operations, you're ready to Implement "Item and method formulation", meaning choosing a method that's suited to the nature of the Item you're planning to SE.

If you are a regular reader of this blog, or you've been social engineering In the world of company manipulation and exploitation for many years to date, you'd be well aware that all the above refers to deceiving representatives Into crediting accounts for the cost of the purchased Item, or dispatch a replacement product at no extra charge. Unless the rep/agent Is half-asleep on the job and approves the claim with no questions asked, or a chat bot does the same within one minute of the conversation, or perhaps a given company generates a refund on scan (prior to returning the goods), complexities will be experienced while the claim Is In motion.

As a result, It's Imperative to prepare your method by leaving very little to no room for error, thus upon executing your attack vector, It will significantly Increase the chance of the SE working In your favor. However when It's In the hands of the company's representative, It's Impossible to determine the series of events that take place and everything they throw at you during their evaluation process. Sure, you know precisely what's happening on your end and what It takes to get the job done, but are you aware of the "requests", "questions" and "demands" that're typically asked by reps when they're assessing your claim?

If your answer Is "no" (which I'm sure It Is!), then your SE may prematurely fail - namely because you don't have the knowledge of how to handle and reply to certain types of requests that WILL come your way at any given moment either with your current SE, or those that you plan to perform In the future. For Instance, how will you respond when the company emails you an "Internal company document" or an "affidavit" to be signed and returned? Or If they've "arranged their carrier driver to Inspect your goods" prior to returning your product for a refund/replacement? If you have no Idea how to address those events, say goodbye to your SE.

Rest assured, I've got you covered. What you will learn from this article and as per the topic of this tutorial, Is "what to expect while your claim Is being assessed" - which relates to all online stores on every level. In other words and simply stated, I will discuss all Incidents that reps/agents ask you to comply with, as well as how to effectively tackle each one to ensure your SE heads In the right direction, and ultimately results In a successful outcome. "What you're about to read, Is VERY detailed", so make yourself a few cups of coffee, strap yourself In and enjoy the ride. 


Request For A POD:

Before I make a start, the Information contained In this topic may vary from one company to the next, Inclusive of the way things are processed on their end, so this should be used as a general guide. Okay, a "POD" Is an abbreviation of "Proof Of Destruction" that's commonly used by companies such as Logitech and SteelSeries, whereby Instead of returning your Item, "they'll ask you to destroy It" In a manner that will render It non-functional, then take either a photo or video of the damaged product and send It as an email attachment. You may also be told to place a handwritten note next to the device, and/or show Its serial number - just to verify that It belongs to "you", and not something taken from Google Images.

Obviously, a POD only applies to tech-based Items that have some type of functionality like Apple AirPods, electric tooth brush, SSD (Solid State Drive) and the list goes on. Here's a brief example of how a POD works. Let's say you've purchased a wireless gaming keyboard and upon receiving It, you've called the rep/agent and said that It's not working. Of course, there's nothing wrong with It, but you're stating otherwise for SEing purposes. Rather than sending It back for a warranty replacement, the rep tells you to break a few keys and smash a few pieces off the keyboard Itself, then take a photo/video and email the result. 

The reasons you're told to destroy It, Is to make sure your (seemingly) defective Item Is completely useless, thus preventing you from falsifying your claim and If the cost of your product Is greater than the cost of freight to return It, the company will opt for a POD - which doesn't set them back a single dime. Evidently, you have no Intention of breaking your Item, hence to circumvent It, the corrupted file or the corrupted video method can be used. Alternatively, If you're proficient In using "Adobe Photoshop", by all means put your skill set Into action. If you choose my methods, be sure to thoroughly read my tutorials to give the SE the best chance of success.    


Request For A POP:

It's pretty much common sense that when you buy something online or In person at your local mall, a receipt will be given with your transaction, so there's no point In elaborating the obvious - that'll be a waste of my time and yours. From a company's perspective, a "Proof Of Purchase" (mostly abbreviated as "POP") Is requested to "confirm that the Item the customer Is claiming for a refund or replacement, was purchased from their Inventory" and once that's been established, the representative will see whether the claim should be approved. Allow me to explain how a POP Is used from a social engineering standpoint.  

Many traditional methods such as the DNA (Did Not Arrive), the wrong Item received, the missing Item and the sealed box method, are all performed by buying the product first, and having the funds reimbursed Into the SE'ers credit card or bank account when the SE succeeds. However, not every social engineer has the cash upfront, therefore "they need to pretend they have the Item" and the way It's done, Is with methods that do not require any Investment. At the time of this post, there are less than a handful of compatible methods, but for the purpose of this guide, I'll discuss only the one which Is called "the serial number method".  

As said above, this Is based on the grounds that you don't have any money to buy your product. Moreover, It only pertains to technological Items - as mentioned In the POD topic that you've just read a few minutes ago. In a nutshell, SE'ers use the serial number method by grabbing a serial from the Internet etc of the Item they'd like to SE that's still under warranty (yes, It must have warranty, otherwise the SE will not move forward!), and then get In touch with the rep/agent and tell him that the Item Is not working. Now unless he's brain-dead and approves the claim on the spot, he'll go through a few troubleshooting steps to try and determine why It's not functioning.

Remember: The SE'er doesn't have the Item - he's only got the serial number that's associated with It. When the rep Is satisfied that It's broken, a refund/replacement will be arranged, but only when their criteria Is met - namely complying with company protocol. This can Include returning the Item, which (for example) can be bypassed using the boxing method and In the majority of cases, requesting a "Proof Of Purchase". You know what to do to avoid sending the POP - Photoshop It, or use the corrupted file method, so I won't repeat what you're already aware of.  All In all, you can easily manipulate the rep Into believing you've supplied the POP. 


Ask You To Return The Item:

When using the wrong Item received method, whereby you say that upon opening your package a different Item was Inside to what was originally ordered, It's almost a certainty that the representative will ask you to send It back for a refund or replacement and failing to do so, will result In your claim being declined. There are also many other methods that trigger a return, but It's way beyond the scope of this article to cover the lot, so what I will talk about Is one particular return policy that HP and Dell have In place named "Advanced Replacement" and "Advanced Exchange" - which SE'ers abbreviate both as "AR" and "AE" respectively.

The purpose of each one Is the same, only titled differently for company trademark and related reasons. So what Is an AR & AE, and how do the said companies utilize It with their claims management? Given they serve the same objective, I'll discuss an "Advanced Replacement". As Its name Implies, this Is when the company sends you a replacement Item In advance BEFORE you return the one that was purchased from them that's "apparently" defective. I've quoted "apparently" because It's not defective at all - you're just saying It Is to SE them. To give you a good understanding of the way an Advanced Replacement operates, I'll provide a simple scenario as follows.

We'll make as If you bought a computer monitor from HP and whilst It's still within their warranty period, you've contacted the customer service rep and told him that It's not turning on. As per their policy and guidelines, he troubleshooted the Issue to no avail and as such, he dispatched a replacement to you In advance, so when you receive It, you're supposed to send back the one you've said Is broken. Now they are awaiting your return, so don't think for a minute that they'll forget about It! If you completely Ignore It, they will bill your account for the full cost of the original purchased Item. To safeguard against that and protect your Identity, use a VCC (Virtual Credit Card) and also a drop house.  


Asked To File A Police Report:

If you're new to the social engineering sector or never dealt with a police report (referred to by SE'ers as "PR"), you'd be at a loss at to what It entails, and why It was generated by the company you're SEing. Don't worry, In this topic, I'll answer all your questions and concerns. When SE'ers hear or read the term "police", It's human nature to automatically assume that they're In some sort of trouble with the law, or perhaps the Feds will bust their door down at 5:30am. I can assure you, that nothing could be further from the truth. Law enforcement agencies have better things to do, than waste their time and valuable resources on a one-off Incident that suggests (for example) your package didn't arrive.

So why do companies request a PR, and how do you handle It on your end? Well, It's basically nothing more than a bit of paperwork to say that everything you've said (and/or provided to the rep) about your SE, Is true and Is not falsified In any way. That Is, It's only needed for administration purposes to move forward with the evaluation of your claim, and when It's approved, the police report will be archived and just sit there collecting dust. To give you an Insight Into the way It's used, here's an analogy that you can relate to.  

If you've been Involved In a minor motor vehicle accident, you'd contact the police and when they attend, they'll ask you a series of questions pertaining to the events that took place. To claim the cost on Insurance, you'd "file a police report" and the cops will put It on record. Your Insurance company will then use It (with other bits & pieces) to process your claim, and approve to repair the damage on your car free of charge. All that Is no different to filing a police report when social engineering - "as long as It appears legit, there's no cause for concern". So when you're told to file a PR, go ahead and do It - either at your local police station or (where available) on the Internet. 


Asked To Sign A Stat Dec:

In the next four topics (this one Included), I will be discussing certain documents that companies have a tendency to throw at you every now and then, starting with a "stat dec" which Is short for "statutory declaration". Much the same as a police report, a stat dec (which may be sent to you by the rep/agent at any given time), Is a written statement that declares everything you've stated Is true and correct. It Is signed In the presence of an authorized witness such as a police officer, or a medical practitioner (your doctor). Depending on what part of the globe you live In, some stat decs are signed on the condition that everything you've said Is correct "to the best of your knowledge".

If you happen to come across that with your statutory declaration, make a mental note that It's a vulnerability, whereby It can potentially render the declaration void because as far as you're concerned, you have signed It "to the best of your knowledge" - be It true of false, Is Irrelevant. In other words, "that Is what you believed was true at the time of signing the stat dec", hence even If you've lied (which as an SE'er you will!), no one can hold It against you - "It was believed to be true by you" and that's where It ends. The good thing about It, Is that It's not a legally binding document, so when the company asks you to put pen to paper, comply with their request and await their response.   


Asked To Sign An Affidavit:

To this day, I continue to communicate with social engineers of all shapes & sizes who're Indecisive as to whether or not they should sign & return an "affidavit", and rightly so - It needs to be very carefully considered before a decision Is made. Why Is that, you ask? Well, this type of document Is a lot more serious than a stat dec, namely because of the (possible) legal ramifications that may arise If the company In question decides to pursue the matter (your SE) further, by putting your claim In the hands of their solicitors. You see, unlike a statutory declaration "that must be signed In front of a Justice of the Peace to make It legally binding" (on Its own It Isn't), an affidavit Is quite the opposite. 

In simple terms and without the legal jargon, once an affidavit Is signed, It becomes a legally binding document there and then, thereby It can be used as evidence In court. I'm not suggesting It "will happen", but rather It "may happen" - should the company decide to take litigation against the SE'er. What's the likelihood of that? Not likely at all with mediocre SEs. For Instance, If you're SEing low value Items, you basically have nothing to worry about - the cost of solicitors, court proceedings and the company's Investigation team, outweighs the cost of the Item a thousand (plus) times over, thus they won't bother taking action.

On the other hand, hitting high value Items worth In the thousands of dollars, Is a different story altogether - the company will take extra care when assessing your claim - just to make sure their decision to approve the refund/replacement Is justified. And that's when an "affidavit" may be generated and sent, asking you to confirm the events of  your claim on paper, by signing and returning It. In a nutshell, that's how an affidavit generally works, but the question Is, should you sign It? To this day, my recommendation remains firm - "don't". Sure, It may only be needed to move forward with your claim, but given It's legally binding, It Is not worth the risk. Ultimately, It's your choice!    


Issued A Cease And Desist Notice:

Even though this type of document Is not very common In the SEing scene, It's paramount to be well Informed of a "Cease and Desist" notice, namely due to the seriousness of Its nature. If you've been constantly SEing from one company to the next, or offer a refunding service to Inexperienced SE'ers, I strongly advise to absorb every word from this point onwards. Okay, when a social engineer goes too far with obtaining refunds and/or replacements against a company, or Infringes the rights of Individuals, a "C&D" (Cease & Desist) letter Is sent to the SE'er, asking him to stop his activity.

Basically, It alerts the social engineer that his actions are In breach of the company's contract and/or terms, and to Immediately stop what he's doing. Consider a C&D as a warning to terminate your behavior on the spot. Now this Is where It begins to get serious. If the SE'er Ignores the C&D and continues to SE In the same fashion, such as keep refunding the company who sent the notice, then there's every possibility that they'll take the matter further - legally. In the worst-case scenario, "legal proceedings could already be In progress", which will be stated In the letter. As you can see, a Cease and Desist Is very significant and should not be taken lightly, so If you've been hit with one, you know what to do - "put your SEs to an end".


Asked To Sign An Internal Document:

The final bit of paperwork that I'll be Introducing, Is not requested very often, but It's still just as Important to familiarize yourself with It, as It Is with the rest. What I'm referring to Is an "Internal document", whereby (as Its name Implies) It's prepared "Internally" and Issued by the company Itself - perhaps by their accounts section, HR department or senior management team. It serves the same purpose as a statutory declaration, meaning It's used to say that everything you've told the company about your SE Is true and correct. But there's a major difference with an Internal document, and that Is It's not legally binding, nor does It hold the same "value" as a stat dec

Because It's solely created by the company's personnel, and without any Involvement by their legal representatives, It's the least effective document of the lot. For Instance, during my experience of signing & returning Internal company documents, each and every one was purely required for administration purposes. There wasn't a single occasion that suggested further action would be taken, so If you've received one and contemplating whether you should sign It - go ahead with It. One way to Identify an Internal document, Is by "a company logo at the top and/or bottom of the page" or If It contains specific details about your claim - like "package not delivered by DHL". Both affidavits and stat decs seldom, If ever, list that type of Info.    


The Carrier Inspecting Goods On Pickup:

What you're about to read, Is not a common occurrence and It mainly depends on the carrier's terms, conditions and protocol but If It unexpectedly comes your way, It's crucial to be well-prepared for the series of events that will be encountered. The following example, Is not tied to anything In particular - the objective Is to give you a good understanding of what takes place "when carrier drivers are asked to check goods at the collection point" - being your house or otherwise. Okay, let's say you've used the faulty Item method and after It succeeded, the rep/agent said to send It back for a refund. To circumvent It, the boxing method was executed (with dry Ice) and the outcome worked In your favor.

In the above case, that's how a standard SE Is performed and approved - goods are returned, and funds are reimbursed/credited Into the SE'ers account. However, to ensure that you do return your product, some carriers/companies will Instruct you to "leave the package open for the driver to Inspect Its contents" before It's sealed and dispatched. At the time of writing, "DHL" Is one of a few carriers who (at times) does this and as such, It virtually puts an end to any method that requires an Item be returned. Or does It? 

"SEing Is all about thinking outside the box and manipulating every Issue to your advantage", so rather than trying to stop the driver from examining your package (which can be a very difficult, If not Impossible task), you'll be using an alternative approach by focusing on "the reasons why you're not able to meet the carrier's request". In other words, you will manipulate the representative as to "why you won't be around when the driver arrives", therefore you cannot comply with how they're arranging your return. The aim Is to convince them that you're more than happy to use another carrier company (who doesn't Inspect packages) and to provide reassurance, you'll Immediately give them the tracking details. Here's a short list of excuses why you cannot meet up with the driver.

  • Absent due to work commitments 
  • In the process of moving house
  • Called for jury duty (In court)
  • In hospital as an Inpatient 
  • Away on a business trip

Asked You To Deal With The Retailer:

Before I begin, this predominantly applies to "product manufacturers" to the likes of Logitech, GoPro, Adidas, SteelSeries, etc but for simplicity, I'll be referencing the manufacturer as the "company". Now when you've bought your Item from a "retailer" and you prefer to put In a claim to the "company who actually manufacturer's the Item you're SEing", they may ask you to deal directly with the retailer - for the reason that the original purchase was made with them. While they're well within their rights to do that, It doesn't mean you need to obey their request and furthermore, as the manufacturer, they're obligated to at least listen to the Issues you're having with "their product".

In fact, many companies will ask you to first get In touch with the retailer and If they cannot assist, they'll say to give them a call back. Obviously, you have no Intention to speak with the retailer, so you must have a very good reason why their support team refused to be of help - one of which Is "they don't handle warranty claims and Instead contact the company/manufacturer". I've personally used that approach on a few occasions, by remaining adamant that the retailer dismissed my concerns and said "It's not their responsibility to look after warranty claims". Evidently, that's a total lie, but will well and truly suffice for the purpose of the SE. If the company wants a proof of purchase from the retailer, you know what to do - you've read all about It In the topic named "Request For A POP".  
  

Asking You To Deal With The Carrier Company:

Of all topics you've had the pleasure of reading thus far, this particular event, namely "asking you to deal with the carrier company" who serviced your delivery, Is the most ridiculous request you'll come across and If you haven't experienced It as yet, you will at some stage of your social engineering activities. Irrespective of the company you're SEing, there will Inevitably be at least one customer service rep without any brain cells left, who will tell you to call the carrier and sort out your claim with them

This typically happens when using the DNA method, whereby when you've said that you haven't received your goods, the company (you're SEing) Instructs you to communicate with the carrier to try and locate the whereabouts of your package. If you're told something along those lines, don't even think about complying - for the fact that "you've ordered your Item(s) from the company, not the carrier", hence It's their duty to manage your claim. Put simply, the carrier's job Is to solely deliver packages and not handle the evaluation of your claim, so be sure to say that to the representative and don't allow him to tell you otherwise.          


In Conclusion:

There's no doubt that the first port of call when performing each and every SE, Is to research the company and become well acquainted with their operations, Inclusive of their refund and replacement policies. However, If you have very little to no Idea of "the type of requests that will be thrown at you while your claim Is being assessed", there Is a good chance your SE will prematurely come to an end. That's what prompted me to write this article - to provide you with every common event that reps/agents will ask prior to finalizing your claim. Obviously the lot will not take place In one hit, but will happen at some point during your SEing affairs, so make sure you're familiar with every topic listed above.  

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