You can use a TreasuryDirect account to buy and sell government bonds and other government debt instruments directly, without going through a broker. Getting the account is a straightforward process, and the account itself is free. Another kind of "treasury account" is mentioned in online sites that propose giving you access to free money. The scam typically proposes that each of us has a secret Treasury account with $600,000 in it. We can write checks on this account, scammers maintain, if we know the secrets of getting access. There is no such secret Treasury account and persons who have tried writing checks on such accounts have gone to jail.
Go to the government's TreasuryDirect website to obtain information about its TreasuryDirect programs. If you buy and sell government debt instruments -- for your retirement account, for example -- a TreasuryDirect account enables you to do this without charge, quickly, 24 hours a day, from anywhere in the world with Internet access. With a TreasuryDirect account, you do not have to buy and sell government equities through a broker or hold them yourself for safekeeping. All equities you own are held in your name and are bought and sold electronically in your Treasury Direct account.
Opening an Account
Go to the TreasuryDirect website and navigate to the new accounts page. Choose an account type -- most probably an "individual account." Provide the account information needed: your tax ID number (usually your Social Security number) and your bank or brokerage account number including routing number. Create a password. Once you have created an account, you can fund it by check or through a money transfer from another bank or brokerage account.
Paying for Equities
Once your account is set up and funded, when you choose a T-bill or other government equity from the list of available equities, the TreasuryDirect software will deduct the cost from your balance and deliver an online account of the transaction. If you need a paper copy, the TreasuryDirect website suggests printing the information from the website. It does not provide independent paper copies.
Avoid participating in any advertised "Strawman" schemes, the name usually given by online scammers when promoting ways of accessing your "secret" Treasury Account. One tip often given as a promotional come-on is to write checks for this account with your name spelled entirely in capital letters. This supposedly tips off the Treasury that you are an informed insider. This and the other information the scammers offer to sell you supposedly enables you to access a $600,000 balance. Note that writing checks on this non-existent account constitutes check fraud.
I am a retired Registered Investment Advisor with 12 years experience as head of an investment management firm. I also have a Ph.D. in English and have written more than 4,000 articles for regional and national publications.