• Those annoying Cash4gold TV commercials are not, apparently, the only annoying thing about the company. The Consumerist web site reports that Cash4gold’s business practices are less than stellar, with a former employee claiming that the company doesn’t do accurate appraisals, loses gold and jewelry, and sits on checks.

• Hackers, says the BBC, have discovered a new way of duping users onto fraudulent websites: fake parking tickets. Cars had tickets placed on the windshield which directed users to a website where users were tricked into downloading a virus. The first reports of this scam came from North Dakota.

• The Smithsonian Museum wants Aretha Franklin’s Inauguration Day hat, which just goes to show that someone there has as impeccable a sense of style as Aretha does (as we noted here after she wore it). The Queen of Soul, though, isn’t sure. “I am considering it,” she said. “It would be hard to part with my chapeau since it was such a crowning moment in history. I would like to smile every time I look back at it and remember what a great moment it was in American and African-American history.”

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