Watch your information: A report by the Federal Trade Commission says complaints of fraud and identity theft increased by about 50% in 2008. The FTC says it received about 1.2 million consumer complaints in 2008, with fraud losses totaling more than $1.8 billion. The most complaints came from states hard hit by the housing crisis — Arizona, California and Florida — demonstrating a link between the recession and fraud.
Get out and vote: Early voting in the special Senate District 16 race ends Saturday. Voters will be allowed to cast ballots from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. today and tomorrow at four East Baton Rouge Parish locations: the governmental building on St. Louis Street, Clerk of Court’s branch office on Coursey Boulevard, the Secretary of State Archives Building on Essen Lane and the Office of Motor Vehicles in Baker. The primary election for the Senate District 16 seat will be March 7.
No word on how long closing will last: Poultry processor Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. says it will temporarily close its plant in northeastern Louisiana, one of three plants the company is idling to cut production as part of its bankruptcy reorganization. The plant in Farmerville in Union Parish is one of the region’s largest employers with 1,200 workers. Pittsburg, Texas-based Pilgrim’s Pride is the nation’s largest chicken processor. Pilgrim’s Pride also said that plants in El Dorado, Ark., and Douglas, Ga., would be idled within 60 to 75 days, bringing the number of workers losing their jobs to 3,000, or about 7% of the company’s workforce. The company described all three plants as underperforming. The closures will affect 430 independent contract growers who supply birds to the three plants. Pilgrim’s Pride gave no indication of how long the closures might last.