An article written by Ritu Gill on OSINTcurio says that there are platforms that investigators can use to create research accounts--or sock puppets--before conducting an OSINT.
The blog entry, titled “Creating Research Accounts for OSINT Investigations,” adds that some platforms allow only limited viewable data unless you are logged in.
Investigators can use popular social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter, but targets from other countries may be using alternate platforms, and additional research may be necessary to identify these.
The post states that there are two types of reasons for using a research account. One is for passive purposes, which means that the investigator does not involve himself or herself with the target. Another is for active purpose, which means that the investigator gets information from the target through online contact or communication.
The blog post also suggests blending in with the group when doing active research. If the investigator is engaging with a target, creating a few accounts on various platforms to appear credible is recommended.
In addition, investigators have to keep in mind the factors that motivate their targets. Investigators should also make sure that their online profile is active in the same areas as the person being investigated.
The article states that when selecting and generating a name, investigators may want to use online resources including Behindthename.com, Randomwordgenerator.com and Randomuser.me.
When it comes to setting up email addresses, the email provider mail.com can be used to make several problem-free accounts. Bypassing the phone number verification when having brand new email accounts should also be taken into account.
The blog post advises investigators to make sure to comply with their company's policies when it comes to deciding between passive and active research. Investigators should also make sure to keep their personal and research accounts apart.