Social Engineering. Q&A

Submitted by Ehrie in Illegalism (edited )

Social Engineers take advantage of human behavior to pull off a scam. While typically used in the world of computers, it is often overlooked in the world of lifting. The truth is, stealing information is not that vastly different than stealing products. When I lift, I almost ALWAYS use some form of Social Engineering. I talk with the employees, laugh with them, joke with them. I get them to open a door for me when my hands are full of their merchandise. I convince them to pull items out of cages and let me walk off with them. I get employees to bend the rules to make my life easier because I make them 'Like' and 'trust' me. This is how I steal.

Some of us lift by hiding in the shadows, and that is great if it works for you. I lift by intentionally making myself noticed. I will laugh, I will sing, I will chase my daughter through aisles making monster noises. I will flirt. I will even dance across a store and make employees and customers laugh at my antics. There is a lot of truth behind the idea of "Hiding in plain sight". People have expectations in regards to what a thief looks and acts like. So what do I do? Well, the opposite!

I've literally told an employee of T@rget .. "This is expensive. I think I'm going to steal this. You're okay with that, right?" And they laughed, and I laughed, as if it was the greatest joke in the world.. And then I did exactly that. I walked right out with it.

Of course, there is a such thing as being TOO obvious. You don't want to make such a fun scene that people WANT to watch you just because it's fun. There is a line to ride. The idea is to act in a way that make people want to laugh and smile, but then still continue with their day.

So, why am I telling you this? Am I bragging? Perhaps a little... But mostly, Because I want to share a different method of being sneaky than what some of you are used to doing. I want to open the floor here for any questions you may have on the topic...

Consider this a Q&A!

Anything you want to know?



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Positif wrote (edited )

I know every person is different and asking a specific question won’t really help since everything is so situational, but I do have to ask when do you draw the line? I’m a very out going person and I have noticed that some employees will turn a blind eye if I talk to them nicely and relate to them, or they let their guard down and won’t count my items when going into the dressing room or watch me too closely which has given me many opportunities. I just wanted to know what you consider going too far and if someone WAS suspicious of how nice you were acting what would you do? Better yet, if that employee from target didn’t take what you said as a joke but laughed anyways, and then continued to watch you curiously what you would do? Thanks for sharing another aspect to lifting <3.


Ehrie OP wrote (edited )

It's a good question. Honestly though, the line, for me at least, comes down to instinct and gut feeling. I pride myself on being able to read people, I was trained by some of the best (In my opinion). But stealing is a lot like gambling. You can count cards, read faces, etc... But in the end the 'chance' factor will always be there.

Social engineering takes me far, but if I don't feel right, even in the least, I won't do it. I need to FEEL 100% confident that I am going to succeed. Sometimes, I may miss out on a great opportunity because of this, but you have to know when to 'fold'. It's true that the target employee could have been triggered a bit by my fake/real confession, but I chose to make that 'joke' based on what I read from him. And I'll be totally honest here... I obviously did not need to take the extra risk, but there is a part of me that enjoys the game... TO go back to my poker analogy, sometimes the feeling of winning a round with a useless hand just gives you a fun high.... When everyone falls for your bluff... ;)

I digress... TO really answer your question, I don't really believe there is a standard line to cross. 'Too Far' tends to be more dictated by feeling and instinct more than anything else. If you feel you're beginning to push the envelope, you probably are. If you believe you can keep pushing and you're comfortable, you probably can. <3 The moment you start feeling even the tiniest hint of doubt, that is when you stop.

I hope that kinda answered your question. And of course, this is all to be taken with a grain of salt. It's as you said, everything (and everyone) is situational.


Henlo wrote

Idk if this is true but my bf has told me I act bad and I just said ugh can we please leave im tired of being here and he said DO U WANNA GET CAUGHT THAT IS GONNA GET US CAUGHT when all I said was I wanna leave im tired of being here cuz we were lingering really bad. How would you act would you try taking on a different persona every time he says I act too stiff but I wanna act like a normal shopper I just walk slow and bounce around normally and then try to act like im shopping and make sure what im doing looks clear and innocent but he says it looks sketchy. I try not to look sketchy and like a normal person and I feel like he does things that draw attention


Ehrie OP wrote (edited )

Honestly, it -sounds- like he is more likely to get called out. He sounds like he is a bit too nervous. I usually go out alone, but sometimes I do have a partner I work with, though she is usually more my scout than a lifter. If we are in a store that appeals to me... Say, electronics, sporting goods, etc... She acts bored all the time (It may not be an act, actually?) Either way, it never looks shady, and it's perfectly normal for someone uninterested in the store to be bored. I do the same thing when we hit a store she's interested in. If we go to an Ult@ or something, I basically spin in circles. When employees come up to me to ask if I need help. I just motion towards the back of the store and say something like... "I'm just along for the ride..." And roll my eyes. They usually laugh it off.

What will get you caught is if you two are not on the same page. If one of you is nervous and trying to be sneaky and the other is talkative and natural, you'll hit problems. In regards to social engineering a situation, your way is actually better. Though, rather than be bored, I'd actually advise you to act more bubbly and upbeat. Boredom works, but happy and bubbly would make you less of a threat.

With all that said, it doesn't currently sound like it would be doable with your BFs current attitude towards it. If you're going to lift with a partner, you need to trust them to do what they do. You're too scatter brained otherwise, because you need to not only worry about yourself but also the person you are with. Being pulled in too many directions is never a good thing. You're more likely to slip up.

With social engineering, the idea is to play on your strengths. Most people try to be 'someone else' and that causes unneeded stress for most unless you are a great actor and you know it. It's all about being comfortable, and the most comfortable you can be is when you are being the person you know best (Yourself).

The best lie IS the truth.


Hermes wrote

It helps, if you do everything relaxed, as it was the most natural thing in the world. Last year a walked out of the store with a puffy, full length €350 down jacket on my arms. The security guy opened the door, I smiled in return.


pizzafordinneragain wrote

Thanks for the post!

I've gotten myself into a little predicament that isn't directly related to lifting but social engineering an item.

Long story short, I was approved to receive a replacement for a faulty Neato D7 Robot Vacuum valued at about $700, Going through the warranty process was pretty painless, but now they want me to ship the defective unit back for repair/diagnostic so that I can receive a new one,

Obviously, I don't own one so I can't return one. I've mentioned that the courier, Fed-Ex, upon inspection, won't allow me to return the unit because of a faulty battery and it's overall condition.

The claim is still open and they're still willing to send a new replacement, but I cannot get past the requirement of sending back the faulty unit.

I've though of hiriing a photoshopper to alter a unit to show significant damage of the battery and subsequent parts, describing I'm partially disabled and returning the defective unit very difficult, among other ideas.

I just received an email saying that to I need to return to Fed-Ex and attempt to re-ship the unit again and if they deny it a second time, to instruct Fed-Ex to call their support and talk to him (which I would probably go ahead and hire a individual to act as a Fed-Ex employee manager and basically firmly confirm the situation and request they ship a replacement or at least an Advance Replacement).

Apologies for the long tirad and if this goes past the rules of the forum but I figure I might get some new insight.