What to Do if You’re Locked Out of Your TreasuryDirect Account

Quick Answer

You’ll likely need to call the TreasuryDirect customer service at 844-284-2676 if you’re locked out of your account because you entered the wrong password or security question answers too many times. If you’re opening a new account or changing your connected bank account, you may also need to print, fill out and mail back an additional form.

Woman talking on the phone while using her laptop.

If you get locked out of your TreasuryDirect.gov account—the site you use to purchase U.S. savings bonds, including the popular Series I bonds—you may need to call TreasuryDirect's customer service line to unlock your account. While you won't lose any investments while you're locked out, you also won't be able to buy or sell your electronic bonds until you unlock your account.

How Do You Unlock Your I Bond Account?

When your TreasuryDirect account gets locked, you'll need to call the customer service line at 844-284-2676 to have an agent unlock your account. While you can recover your account number or reset your password online, unlocking services are only available by phone from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern time.

The agent may be able to unlock your account over the phone after you provide an authorization code that they send to your email or answer security or identifying questions.

In some cases, your account may be locked if TreasuryDirect can't verify your information when you sign up. If that's the case, you may need to print, complete and mail FS Form 5444, the TreasuryDirect Account Authorization form.

To complete the form, you'll need to sign it in front of a notary public or certifying officer, such as a bank or credit union employee (here's a guide to who qualifies). Notaries weren't accepted until recently, so you may find older guides that don't mention that as an option, but the Treasury revised the form in August 2022. Additionally, the notary or certifying officer needs to fill out part of the form and stamp it with their official stamp or seal. Review the instructions on page two of the form for a list of acceptable seals and stamps.

If your account is locked when you try to change your connected bank account, you may need to print, fill out and mail in FS Form 5512, the TreasuryDirect Redemption and/or Bank Change Request form. The form must be signed in front of and completed by a certifying officer. You can call your financial institution's local offices to ensure they have someone who can help you.

What if You're Trying to Unlock an Account in Someone Else's Name?

If you created a minor account (a custodial account for someone younger than 18), then the account will be linked to your primary TreasuryDirect account. When the person turns 18, they can create their own separate account and unlink the accounts if they want. At that point, they'll have to call TreasuryDirect if they get locked out of their account.

When you're caring for someone else, such as a parent, who has a locked account, they'll need to call TreasuryDirect unless they've granted you power of attorney. If you have specific questions, you can call or email TreasuryDirect.

How Can You Prevent Being Locked Out of Your Account Again?

You might not be able to get around the extra identity verification forms when you first try to create an account or change your bank. However, once you set up your account, be careful when entering your password or answering security questions, as getting either wrong too many times could lock your account.

You can create and store a strong and unique account password with a password manager. Using unique passwords can be important for protecting all your accounts, because they keep one data breach from putting your other accounts at risk. Many password managers also let you create secure notes where you can write down the answers to your secret security questions.

If you don't have or don't want to use a password manager, you could write down your password and security answers on a piece of paper. It's a simple approach, but it might not make sense for everyone (for example, don't leave the paper at work or in an open space if you have roommates). But even low-tech can be secure.

The TreasuryDirect website requires you to log in using an on-screen keyboard and clicking on each character using your mouse, which can be frustrating and lead to errors. Even if you use a password manager, it won't necessarily be able to autofill your password.

Some people edit the page's HTML or use a special browser extension that allows them to autofill or copy and paste their password into the field—there are guides for how to do this online. While this could decrease the chance you'll get locked out of your account, the virtual keyboard is a security feature that might protect you from keylogger malware that records what you type on your physical keyboard. It's a minor risk, but worth considering if you're making a change.

The Bottom Line

While the TreasuryDirect website has gotten a facelift since rising inflation rates led people to flock to the website to buy Series I bonds, some people have trouble remembering their account information or correctly entering their password. As a result, they can get locked out of their account and have to call customer service.

Keeping your password in a secure place could help you avoid the hassle. If you don't get your password right the first time, you could try using the online services to reset your password. However, you still might get locked out if you don't remember the exact answers.