organized home office/desk
Quarterly Newsletter
First Edition
September 2007



This is the first edition of Altogether Organized's quarterly newsletter; our new way of keeping in touch and sharing information that we hope will be helpful to you.


This issue contains information on how to dispose of old computer equipment in an environmentally friendly way, advice on how to prevent identity theft and what to do if it does happen to you, an update on our team and a special coupon from one of our resources.


We hope that you enjoy this newsletter. Please let us know if there are any topics you would like us to cover in the future.


Best Regards,



In This Issue
Identity Theft
Disposing of Old Computers
News from the Altogether Organized Team
White Rabbit
identity theft
 Identity Theft



Everyday 27,000 Americans have their identity stolen and in about a third of these cases the thieves use the information to open new accounts in their victim's names.

  • In serious cases of identity theft, it can take an average of 600 hours to repair the victim's credit.
  •  According to a study by the Javelin Strategy and Research, more than half of the cases of identity theft involved information stolen by using techniques like pick pocketing and going through garbage as opposed to high tech hacking.
  • The only thing that is necessary for a thief to steal your identity is your social security number. 


    Preventive Measures


    • Do not carry your social security card with you and shred any information that contains your social security number before disposing of it. In addition, shred papers that have credit card or financial account numbers on them.
    •  Illinois is one of 36 states that have security freeze laws that allow consumers to protect their credit record. A freeze locks up the information needed to conduct a credit check and creditors won't open new accounts without that check.  Consumers can "thaw" the freeze by using a PIN # to allow new accounts to be opened. The thaw can take several days, so keep that in mind if you are applying for a mortgage or buying a car.  In order to put a freeze on your credit reports, you must contact the three credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) in writing and pay a small fee.
    •  If you don't take advantage of Illinois' Security Freeze Law, you should periodically check your credit report for suspicious activity.  All Americans are entitled to a free annual credit report from each of the three credit bureaus. By requesting a report every 4 months you can keep tabs on your record year round instead of paying for credit monitoring.  Go to for more information.  You can order free credit reports at or by calling (877)322-8228.
    •  Since thieves often steal pre-approved credit card solicitations from recycling bins and mailboxes you should shred these before disposing of them.
    •  Have your name removed from offers for pre-approved credit cards and insurance by going to or calling 888-5-OPT-OUT. 
    •  Put outgoing letters in a post office mail box instead of leaving them in your mailbox for pick up.
    •  Don't respond to a "phishing"e-mail.  It looks just like a message from a legitimate company and often says that you need to update or verify your financial information.  It may ask you to click on a link and to submit your passwords, user names, social security number or other personal information - Don't Do It!  
    •  Guard your home computer by installing software that includes virus protection, antispyware and a firewall like Norton or McAfee.
    •  Photocopy the front and back of every card that you carry with you and keep the copies in  a secure place in your home.  That way if your wallet is stolen or lost you'll be able to cancel the cards quickly.


    What to do if you have your Identity Stolen:


    • File a police report and fill out an ID Theft Affidavit which you can download from the Federal Trade Commission's Website. (
    •  Call one of the credit bureaus (Equifax - 800-685-111, Experian - 888-397-3742 and TransUnion - 800-888-4213). They'll notify the other two to put a fraud alert on your credit reports.
    •  Call the Social Security Administration at (800)269-0271 if you believe that someone has your social security number.
    •  Contact your credit card companies immediately, review activity on your financial accounts and change your passwords.
    •  Call every creditor with an account in your file that you didn't open and have them closed.
    •  Go to for further advice.  Also, the book From Victim to Victor: A Step by Step Guide for Ending the Nightmare of Identity Theft by Mari Frank, lists the agencies to call for help and provides all the legal letters you need to send.  


    Disposing of Old Computers

    old computers 

    Do you have old computer components sitting in your house or garage that you would like to get rid of?  If so, you are not alone. Federal government researchers estimate that 75 % of all computers ever sold in the United States are sitting somewhere, waiting to be thrown out.  And according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, it is estimated that billions of consumer electronics will be scrapped during the rest of this decade.  The problem is that throwing computer and other electronic items in the garbage results in potentially harmful materials going into landfills. Recycling or donating old equipment is the environmentally friendly thing to do.  Please remember to destroy or use a program to clean the data off of your hard drive before recycling or donating your computer.


    Staples office supply stores have recently launched a nationwide computer and office technology recycling program.  Their stores will accept all brands of used computers, monitors, laptops, printers, faxes regardless of where they were purchased and will recycle them following environmental laws.    If dropping off large items, there is a $10 fee per item, but smaller items such as keyboards and mice are recycled at no charge.    


    Here are other options for how to recycle your electronics in the following geographic areas:


    Lake County

    The following electronic free drop off events are sponsored by SWALCO (Solid Waste Agency of Lake County) and are for Lake County Residents only.  Accepted items are personal computers, monitors, computer drives, keyboards, modems, printers, fax machines, shredders and more.  If you have questions regarding other items that are accepted please call SWALCO at 847-336-9340.  Drop off sites are:


    Village of Deerfield (Public Works Facility)

    465 Elm Street

    Saturday, September 15

    9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.


    Village of Vernon Hills (Public Works Facility)

    490 Greenleaf Drive

    Saturday, September 29

    8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.  


    Northern Cook County

    If you live in Buffalo Grove, Evanston, Glencoe, Glenview, Kenilworth, Lincolnwood, Morton Grove, Skokie, Wheeling, Wilmette or Winnetka and have street level access to your front door, you are eligible for the computer pick up service operated by SWANCC (Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County). For $25 they will pick up a maximum of six items from your doorstep for recycling.


    You can schedule a pick- up by contacting SWANCC at (847)724-9205 ext. 9 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Monday through Friday or send an email request to [email protected]. 




    The Goose Island Facility in Chicago is operated by the City of Chicago and the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency.  The facility accepts computers, computer related equipment and cell phones as well as hazardous waste such as antifreeze, motor oil, gasoline, paints thinners, herbicides, etc.  The electronic waste is either broken down into parts or refurbished and donated to low income families, schools and non-profit organizations. Their location, contact information  and hours of operation are listed below:


    1150 N. Branch Street


    Tuesdays  - 7:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

    Thursdays  - 2:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

    1st Saturday of the month 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.






    organized home office/desk 

    News from the

    Altogether Organized


    • Linda took the inaugural Certified Professional Exam last April and is now a Certified Professional Organizer® 
    • Kim's daughter, Erin, is starting her first year of college this fall at University of Michigan.  Kim and her husband, both Michigan alumni, are very happy with her choice!
    • DeeDee joined Altogether Organized last year and has been receiving rave reviews ever since.
    • We are sorry to say that Lisa is leaving but we are happy for her.  She will be helping her husband in the office of his new pediatric practice.

    Please let us know what's new with you.  We'd love to hear!

    White Rabbit 

    If you are thinking about getting cabinets or open shelving for your garage, White Rabbit is a top tier resource that you may want to look at.  They have provided designs for more than 20,000 garages in the Chicago area and their pricing is guaranteed to match or be better then any of their competitors.   Besides cabinets and open shelving, White Rabbit provides and installs peg boards, work benches, sport racks and overhead storage.  Additionally, White Rabbit can address storage needs that you may have in the basement or laundry room.  They have extended a $100 gift card to Altogether Organized customers which you will find below.  You can learn more about them on the web at or by calling (847)940-8484.

    Contact Us