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FBI Letter: “Your fingerprints are not defined enough”

2010 November 7
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This PSA story comes from a friend of mine. She had left the U.S. for marriage but was trying to get all the paperwork cleared so she could begin working in her new home. This required she send the FBI her fingerprints for a background check. She went to the local police station, had her prints done by the helpful professionals, and sent them off first-class to the FBI.

Weeks later, the letter came back:

Your fingerprints are not defined enough.

Wait, what? “Not defined enough?” What does that mean? The prints looked fine, and they were taken by professionals. What more could she do? The local police had no idea. The letter was no help. No one she asked or reached by phone knew. So she went to the station for a new set of prints and sent them again, figuring it was just a fluke. More weeks passed.

Your fingerprints do not have enough definition.

Great, great, that’s just fantastic. Please, leave me hanging again! Bear in mind that between the mail delays and the bureaucracy it’s been several months sitting at home, not working, going crazy, waiting for each of these koans of mystery. The only person benefiting from this waste of time was her World of Warcraft character.

Time to make a sad cop “Funprint.” FBI Letter: “Your fingerprints are not defined enough”

A shift into action

Not willing to spend more months chipping away at her savings account, my friend embarked on a fruitless internet search, finding post after post of people on Yahoo Answers asking just what this cryptic sentence actually meant. Eventually, finally, she found a solution. Which she tried, and it actually worked.

Moisturize.

Daily wear and tear can grind down on the skin of your fingertips, which is very common for people who spend all day typing. This makes it harder to get a good fingerprint match.

Apparently, the solution is to spend two weeks prior to your fingerprinting constantly moisturizing your fingertips.

How? Just buy some cheap hand cream and apply it to your fingertips constantly throughout the day, all day, every day, for two weeks. Just do it all the time. Then you’ll have nice, lovely fingerprints ready to out you as a terrorist. (Or not).

2010 11 Hand Cream 500x375 FBI Letter: “Your fingerprints are not defined enough”

Freedom Cream

…all joking aside, this story may be worth remembering when it comes time to move.

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