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Doctors 'used fake fingers' to clock in for colleagues at ER

Biometric clocking-in machines are thought to be foolproof. But some Brazilian doctors find they can pretend their colleagues are at work by using silicone fingers.

There are many types of finger scanners. Can they all be easily fooled?
Chinavision/YouTube; screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

I feel sure this story might be an inspiration to some, especially those who enjoy showing solidarity for their fellow worker.

For it seems that several doctors in Sao Paulo, Brazil, decided there was a way to fool the biometric scanners on which they clocked in with their fingers.

They allegedly created more fingers. Fake ones, out of silicone.

As AFP reports, an investigation by Globo television showed a doctor using the fake fingers to fool the machines.

The machines dutifully printed out a paper record of a doctor's attendance, when he or she wasn't actually there.

I confess I hadn't been aware that biometric scanners could be so easily fooled.

There is certainly a school of thought, however, that scanning the veins in one's palm creates a more secure way of ensuring a record of true attendance.

Five doctors have been suspended in this Brazilian case, pending an investigation. However, one reportedly claimed that this wheeze was forced on her as a condition of keeping her job.

Suspicion has fallen on the head of ER, whose daughter allegedly "worked" at the hospital, without having materialized in the building for three years.

The mayor of Ferraz de Vasconcelos, the area of Sao Paulo in which the hospital is situated, told the BBC that he believed there might be 300 hospital employees who, thanks to the silicone fingers, never come to work.

He described them as "an army of ghosts."

Some might wonder that if this hospital was so severely understaffed, it might have been home to far more ghosts on a regular basis.