Widely shared stories about celebrities experiencing car trouble and being helped out by local residents are - yes, you guessed - fake. Several stories in recent weeks mention actors including Bill Murray, Adam Sandler and Will Ferrell having broken-down cars and getting aid from good Samaritans in small and medium-sized towns across the country. The nearly identical stories vary in only the name of the celebrity, the town and a local restaurant. The stories appear on websites made up to look like local news outlets. All the sites include a disclaimer that the articles on them are not real. The disclaimer is, of course, in the fine print.... Example of fake story, this one from 16wmpo.com, on Ferrell supposedly in State College: "So then the one guy finds out that I'm not from there and offers to take me in to get lunch while my car is getting fixed and I'm thinking, 'Sure, what the hell.' So we drove to the finest dining spot in State College - some place called Underground - and get a burger. Great freakin' burger too. These guys had no idea who I was either which made my day, honestly." They recap a supposed interview with an unidentified radio outlet in which the actor praises residents for helping him in of one of the towns. In each story, the residents help secure a tow truck and take him out for lunch. The events depicted in the stories haven't been reported elsewhere, including by local media in the towns where they reportedly took place. Some of the towns named in the stories include several cities in Utah, Rochester, N.H.; Pflugerville, Texas; and State College, Pa. I dug into this when my wife told me about one of the Utah stories (Orem, Payson or any number of other places) I found it odd that Will, a DB of some note even in Hollywood, would even be in Utah, let along driving by himself. So - is it fake or maybe real? Story - does "it" happen in more than one place? Always to the same person/group... Source - multiple local sources? Or is it cut and paste (word for word repeated) on multiple sites? Do your cut and paste sites even offer a source? Who will profit from this? In the bit posted here, a local beanery is featured - how nice, and if you are aware, how viral marketing. This is considered a real form of marketing that folks pay for, but I don't see how it would play out to make any real difference - except, perhaps, for folks who live in their Smart phones. And yes, it is a fairly slow Friday. Enjoy.