Fingerprinting Resources for Private Investigators

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This article provides information about fingerprints and the fingerprinting process. In addition, you’ll find a list of helpful resources, including websites, books, and supplies.

A fingerprint is an impression of the friction ridges of all or any part of the finger. A friction ridge is a raised portion of the epidermis on the palmar or plantar skin, consisting of one or more connected ridge units of friction ridge skin. These are sometimes known as “dermal ridges” or “dermal papillae.”

Fingerprints may be deposited in natural secretions from the eccrine glands present in friction ridge skin (secretions consisting primarily of water), or they may be made by ink or other contaminants transferred from the peaks of friction skin ridges to a relatively smooth surface, such as a card.

The term normally refers to the impressions transferred from the pad on the last joint of fingers and thumbs. However, cards also typically record portions of lower joint areas of the fingers (which are also used to effect identifications).

What are fingerprints used for?

Fingerprints are often used as a method of identifying people. They are especially useful in forensic science and crime scene investigation. No two prints are alike. Crime scene investigators and coroners use prints to help positively identify a criminal or identify a body when the individual’s identity is unknown.

Various types of prints are “lifted” or taken from crime scenes, and the results are analyzed and electronically compared to national databases to determine a possible match. Many people think fingerprints are the only prints left at a crime scene. Other types of prints include lip, hand, mouth, and more.

Fingerprinting Books, Equipment, and Supplies

If you’re interested in learning more, the following books provide information on the history, processes involved, and how the techniques are currently being applied to investigate crime scenes. These books will help you learn how to:

  • Understand how prints are lifted from a crime scene and how they are preserved for future evaluation and analysis
  • Learn how prints are analyzed and linked to a person through the use of software and database technology
  • Understand the various types of prints that might be left at a crime scene, such as lip prints, handprints, mouth prints, etc., and how they are used to identify and convict the guilty.
  • Learn the equipment, technology, and software used, such as ink, pads, forms, and scanners.

The story of a scientific breakthrough that solved one of the most brutal murders in England’s history and forever changed the criminal justice system. This book tells how technology found its way into the criminal justice system. 

Well-researched, this book traces the art and science to its present-day applications. It explains why the unique tracks we leave with our fingers remain one of the most important means of identifying criminals.

Suspect Identities: A History of Fingerprinting and Criminal Identification (Paperback) – This book tells the history of fingerprints and how we shouldn’t have blind faith in the technology that defines our individuality.

DNA Fingerprinting – This book explains how modern identification techniques are used in the courts to convict the guilty, free the innocent, and even inspire legal treachery.


The following supplies are available through Private investigators use specialized equipment and supplies to take prints at the scene of an investigation.

Bestseller No. 1
Fingerprint Cards, Applicant FD-258, 25 Pack
  • High quality ink prints
  • Standard FBI fingerprint card
  • White with blue lines
  • Standard FBI fingerprint card
SaleBestseller No. 2
How to Start a Mobile Fingerprinting Business: Learn the Skills in a Field with a Sea of Opportunities
  • Audible Audiobook
  • Kayden Collymore (Author) – Jeff Bower (Narrator)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 11/02/2022 (Publication Date) – Kayden Collymore (Publisher)
SaleBestseller No. 3
Lee Inkless FingerPrint Pad (S03027),Black,0.5″ x 2.3″ x 1.8″
  • Produces over 1,000 crisp imprints
  • Specially formulated to not dry out
  • Inkless (Specially formulated rub-off ink) formula leaves fingers unmarked
  • Nontoxic, non messy formula
  • Used in banks, schools, offices, for legal documents and more
Bestseller No. 4
Thames & Kosmos Spy Labs Inc: Fingerprinting Kit Identify, Collect, Analyze Fingerprint Evidence | Essential Tools and Tricks of The Trade from The Detective Gear Experts for Young Investigators
  • Spy Labs Incorporated’s activity kits and equipment provide an engaging and interactive way for kids to learn about detective work, including forensic analysis and tracking techniques.
  • Includes everything you need to develop and lift a fingerprint, just like a real detective.
  • Learn the techniques real detectives use to analyze fingerprint evidence.
  • Promotes pretend play as kids ages 8 and up take on the role of detective, setting out to unravel mysteries one tough case at a time.
  • Become a first-class secret agent with Spy Labs, the Detective Gear Experts; your trusted source for all your essential spy tools and gear!
Bestseller No. 5
10 Pack Fingerprint Ink Pads, Thumbprint Ink Pad, Black Ink Pad, Thumb Print Stamp Pad for Office Supplies Identification Notary Security ID Fingerprint Cards Fingerprint Kit
  • Clear Imprints – The fingerprinting ink pads can produce clean, clear impressions, can be evenly pressed on many piece of paper, fingerprint ink pad allows business owners and office workers to provide detailed instructions for quick executions, convenient and practical to use
  • Package Including – You will get 10 pack black ink pad; Each ink pad for fingerprint measures approx. 2 x 2 x 0.6 inch, inner ink diameter 1.5 inch, enough quantity can meet your various needs or as backup in daily life, you can also share with others
  • Wide Application – These fingerprint ink pads black are suitable for office workers and business owners, such as banks, school office ink stones, law enforcement, notarization and application forms
  • Portable Design – Our thumb print ink pad can adapt to any weather, immediately dry without fading or out, your stamp can be used flawlessly for a long time; This handy black ink pad for thumbprints is easy to fit in a bag or pocket for on the go needs well
  • Easy Wipe – You can easily wipe the residual ink on your fingers (wet towel are better); The fingerprints stamp pad are impregnated with non-toxic ink, safe and useful

Cards, Applicant FD-258, 50 pack – The FBI uses the standard FBI card, form number FD-258, the Bureau of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and many police agencies for noncriminal printing, such as for employment clearances or immigration purposes. Perfect for classroom use. Cards come in packs of 50. These are the most recent versions of the FD-258 cards, with the new privacy statement.

Lee Products Inkless Pad – This “Inkless pad” produces crisp finger imprints on any paper.  The pad is specially formulated so as not to dry out.

Fingerprint Pad for roll – This fingerprint pad is 3.5″ X 4.5″, a rub-off Ink Pad (best used for roll printing). The pad is made of a Porous Polyethylene pad with a smooth surface that allows you to gather clean, true black prints. The FBI accepts results produced by this product for classification, search, and retention. No messy, never dry capacity 5,000 impressions. It is suitable for local, state, and federal government background checks.

Other Resources

The following are resources, including in-depth articles, supplies, equipment, and reference books for more information.

  • – The website where you can learn everything about the process, its history, and its present-day use. It contains informative and helpful articles, including DNA and related products.

What do Private Investigators Need to Know?

Private investigators may need to examine or lift impressions from a crime scene during an investigation, such as while investigating a theft or when examining the stolen property. Private investigators may also need to track down the results of an analysis with the appropriate labor agency. Many private detectives have experience in law enforcement and conducting crime scene investigations.

If you need to check for fingerprints or to have prints analyzed, contact an investigative agency in your area. To hire a P.I. specializing in these services, please visit our Private Investigator Directory.

If you have questions about fingerprinting, please leave a message below.

Michael Kissiah is the owner of Brandy Lane Publishing, LLC, which owns and operates a small portfolio of websites, including Michael created more than 20 years ago after working as a private investigator in the state of Florida. Since that time, he has become an expert at how to find information online and has written over 1000 articles on topics related to the investigation industry. In addition, he is the author of the "Private Investigator Licensing Handbook", available at


  1. I need to verify that my last roommate was the reason our savings/change collection was stolen from. It’s been over two years since cashing it in, and it averaged $400+ annually. Unfortunately there was less than $200 there, and the only thing that’s changed in our home was having our transient “friend” around. I know at heart he is the culprit, but I need to verify, otherwise all I have is a sad tale about an unknown amount of unprovable stolen change. It’s a 5 gallon water jug, that “should” have my prints, my girls’, and my 3 year old daughters prints on it. And obviously one other, multiple times because I know it was taken gradually or it would have been noticed by now


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