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|This page in a nutshell: An obvious sockpuppet is obviously a sockpuppet.|
Yes, dear Wikipedians, an obvious sock is quite obvious. For instance: If Editor A is blocked for harassing Editor B and then a brand-new account, Editor C, comes along and mimics the harassing behaviour of blocked Editor A, then A and C are obviously the same user. This may also be called the DUH principle.
It all goes back to the old adage: "If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck". It is very unlikely that new Editor C would share the same disdain for Editor B that was expressed by Editor A. Coincidences happen, but not that often.
This also applies to plain vanilla vandalism. Long-term vandals often have their own "pet" articles that they like to target, so if Vandal B comes along and starts vandalizing some articles that are on Vandal A's pet article list in a similar manner to Vandal A, then you are relatively safe in assuming that they are the same user. It also can be applied to when Vandal A gets blocked for vandalising an article, and Vandal B comes around and reverts the undo of the vandalism in the timeframe of seconds after the typical account creation, then it's a sock. The principle of "assume good faith" always applies, but assume good faith is not a suicide pact and bad behaviour should not be ignored. Sometimes it is quite right to call a spade a spade.