Does the Federal Reserve maintain accounts for individuals? Can individuals use such accounts to pay bills and get money?
No. The Federal Reserve Banks provide financial services to banks and governmental entities only. Individuals cannot, by law, have accounts at the Federal Reserve.
A recent hoax circulating on the internet asserts that the Federal Reserve maintains accounts for individuals that are tied to the individual's Social Security number, and that individuals can access these accounts to pay bills and obtain money. These claims are false. The Federal Reserve does not maintain accounts for individuals, and individuals should not attempt to make payments using Federal Reserve Bank routing numbers or false routing numbers. Individuals who attempt to pay bills or conduct other transactions using a Federal Reserve Bank routing number may face penalty fees from the company they were attempting to pay, or the suspension or closure of their commercial bank or payment service provider accounts. Law enforcement, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), is aware of this scheme, and individuals who participate in such schemes could also face criminal charges.
Victims of internet fraud are advised to make a report to the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov.