How To Locate Item Serial Numbers.
If you're an active social engineer who's been dedicated to the art of human hacking for quite a number of years and part of an online community, namely an Internet forum, you'd predominantly be Involved In discussions relating to the new breed of SEing commonly known as "company manipulation and exploitation". This of course, consists of hitting online retailers on every scale to the likes of Amazon and John Lewis, by manipulating their reps/agents to credit your account or provide a replacement Item, whilst you still get to keep the one you've "purchased". Notice how I've quoted "purchased?". That's because over 90% of social engineering attack vectors performed by beginner and advanced SE'ers are done by "buying the given Item", having It delivered to their house by the carrier service, and using the appropriate method to SE the company thereafter.
It Is all well and good If you have the cash upfront, thereby you can pick & choose an Item at your leisure, but not every social engineer has funds readily available and that's when the "serial number method" comes Into action. So what exactly Is this? In simple terms, you, as the SE'er, will grab a serial number (that's still under warranty) of the Item you wish to SE, and use It to claim a refund or perhaps a replacement by contacting the representative and saying that the Item (which the serial relates to) Is not working. He'll then go through a few troubleshooting steps (which you'll pretend that It's still not functional) and after he's satisfied with the measures taken to try and resolve the matter, he will approve your claim. However, and stating the obvious, you need to find a valid serial number. Many SE'ers have a difficult time trying to locate the one they're after and If you're part of this equation, rest assured, I've got you covered.
I will show you the most effective ways to obtain serials for just about any product you're planning to SE. Now there's one particular entity that I personally do not recommend, which Is "eBay", namely because they're Individual sellers that have bills to pay and mouths to feed- much the same as you and I. Ultimately, It's your choice, hence the reason why I've decided to add It to this article. What I've done Is created a list of where serials can be found, as well as (where applicable) a short description explaining how you should go about getting It without raising suspicion. So let's get started.
You'd be surprised at how many users upload their videos on YouTube, and completely disregard to edit/mask all Identifiable details that are associated with the device that they're demonstrating In the footage. This Is certainly welcomed by every social engineer wishing to grab a valid serial number that's within the manufacturer's warranty period. Do remember that your search results, are only as good as the keywords you enter, so In the case of looking for a serial, just type the name of the Item followed by the word "unboxing". For example, I've entered "Samsung SSD unboxing" and It returned countless pages of users showing procedures of what to expect when purchasing and taking the drive and Its accessories out of the box. Believe It or not, It literally took me 45 seconds to locate a serial number! The good thing about this method, Is that the Items are brand new (hence "unboxing") and you're guaranteed to get a serial covered by warranty.
Physically Visiting The Store:
This Is my favorite method, for the reason that there's absolutely no risk Involved whatsoever. In fact, there's very little to no social engineering Involved, which makes your job as an SE'er, Incredibly simple however for this to work, "the serial number on the box must be the same as the one on the Item". You'll see what I mean In a minute or two. Okay, assuming you have an Item In mind, locate a store that sells the exact make & model and walk In as though you're a normal customer looking to buy something. Some serial numbers are lengthy and difficult to remember, so when you've found the Item, hold the box In one hand and grab your cell phone In the other, and then act as though you're shooting off a text message. Instead, navigate to the phone's camera and take a picture of the serial (that's located on the outside of the box) and put It back on the shelf. It doesn't get any easier than that! You can then use the number to claim a refund on Its respective Item.
Navigating On eBay:
I've already documented my thoughts In the third paragraph of this article pertaining to Individual sellers on eBay, but as mentioned, essentially It's your decision as to whether you wish to target such people. Anyway, moving forward, It's quite obvious to look for serial numbers In Images of products listed for sale on the site Itself, but let's go with the worst-case scenario, whereby you'll need to SE the seller. This Is not as hard as you may think, and provided you do exactly as what you're about to read, you really can't go wrong. This Is an old SEing methodology that's been used for many years to date, and has a very high success rate and here's how you execute your attack. Contact the seller, by (seemingly) expressing your Interest In purchasing the Item and then ask for the serial number for the purpose of "verifying the warranty period and to make sure It's not stolen". Assure him/her that the moment everything checks out, you'll go ahead with the transaction. Of course, you'll do nothing of the sort. People are eager to sell their products, so you'll find that the seller will simply comply with your request. Mission accomplished!
Purchase The Item & Immediately Return It:
For one reason or another, In the event you cannot perform In-store SEing by physically attending the retailer, the method I'm going to Introduce Is just as effective and the upside Is, that there's no pressure at all on the social engineer- In this case, yourself. The only requirement, Is that you must have funds on hand to buy the Item that you're planning to SE but don't worry, your account will be credited, thus you won't be left out of pocket. If you haven't worked It out by the title of this topic, you purchase the Item and when you receive It, write the serial number down and return It for a full refund by saying that you received the same one as as gift. Do note that "return policies" differ from one company to another (some have 15 days, others at 30 days and so forth) so be sure to check the terms on their website to make sure that you don't exceed the time frame. The moment the company reimburses your funds Into your credit card, you can then SE any store that stocks the same Item by obviously using the serial number.