Frank M. Ahearn spent much of his career as a skip tracer finding people for private investigators, lawyers and tabloids. However, his real forte was extracting private information for sale. He is a leading privacy expert and author of The New York Times Best Seller: How to Disappear.
Most of the pretext and social engineering tactics in this book are illegal. In non-technical language, that means do not be a dumbass and try this stuff at home, from work, on Skype, with a prepaid cell phone or through a psychic medium. If you are caught, utilizing these tactics some bad mojo will happen. That is my disclaimer.
Excerpt from The Little Black Book Of Skip Tracing:
I mentioned that another way to pretext a subject of a landline is to do so as a telephone repair employee.
“Hi, this is Joe Momma from Dingle Falls Telephone Repair. I am working on the phone lines and your phone service might be disconnected for about five minutes. Fear not it will be immediately repaired.”
Some people are cool about it and others are huge dicks rambling off they need their phone service. Yea, yeah, yeah! I wait a few minutes and dial them back and when they answer, I hold down the pound button as it cranks out that unpleasant sound in their ear. I do this a few times, depending how much of a schmuck the subject was during the pretext call.
After about five minutes, I call the subject back and explain all is fixed and there will be no interruption of service. Before I hang up, I hit them with the second part of the pretext.
“I need you to confirm your building number and zip code.” And “Please spell the name correctly.”
Note, I do not ask what the building number is but confirm the building number. By saying, confirm it automatically implies that I have the information. Most people fall for the pretext but there is always one unpleasant crayon in the box.
“You work for the phone company, you should know my address”
If someone were being a dick about confirming the information, I would ease out of the call and tell them no problem. From the multiple prepaid cell phones, I call the subject back using different voices and requesting various styles of pizza. The subject would soon realize that their phone number is crossed with the local pizza shop.
I call the pain in the ass subject back and act as if I am calling the pizza shop to confirm all is well with their services. The subject usually blew their stack and blasted me for screwing up their phone line. This was a good thing.
“Sorry but I am showing this line belonging to Pizza Haven. You will need to dial 611 and report the issue.”
This totally infuriated the subject.
“You are repair, you broke it now fix it.”
My response was polite.
“I would if I could but I can’t. I show the number 867.5309 belonging to Pizza Haven on Broadway.”
Then came the roar!
“No you moron my name is Kurt Duesterdick and my address is 1313 Webfoot Walk, Duckburg, Calisota.
“My apologies, I will repair immediately.”
Pretext is like a prompt system, you need to create the right buttons to push.