The Senate has voted to make identity theft a federal crime punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
The bill approved Thursday would punish people who steal others' personal identification to open fraudulent bank accounts, secure loans or apply for credit cards.Thefts committed to facilitate terrorism or in connection with a violent crime would be subject to 25 years in jail.
The bill also would make the Federal Trade Commission a clearinghouse for reporting identity theft crimes. The commission would be authorized to log reports of fraud and direct victims to the appropriate consumer reporting and law enforcement agencies.
Youths who use fake identification to buy alcohol would be exempt.