Claim: Stephanie Courtney, the actress who plays the character of Flo in commercials for Progressive Insurance, is dead.
Example: [Collected via e-mail, June 2014]
Origins: May 2014 saw the circulation of a rumor that Stephanie Courtney, the actress known throughout the U.S. for playing the character of "Flo" in a long-running series of commercials for Progressive Insurance, had been killed in an automobile accident. This rumor was started through an online article published on
According to police, Courtney was driving alone around 10pm when her Lexus LX left the road and crashed into a road divider. Reports indicate that she was wearing a seat belt at the time. No other vehicles were involved.
While other news sites (and on some occasions, tweets from these celebrities) quickly revealed the stories to be hoaxes, the fact that eBuzzd mirrored the design of celeb news and gossip giant TMZ, even copping the title "TMZ today," ensured that many thousands — perhaps millions — of people were fooled. In several cases, even the friends and family of those "killed" by the site were suckered by eBuzzd's stories.
And it's not just death hoaxes: over the past months, eBuzzd has published page after page of fake celebrity news — "Phil Collins loses right arm in a tragic accident," Selena Gomez is pregnant with twins and Justin Bieber is the father, Tom Cruise quit Scientology "after heated interrogations," former governor "Jesse Ventura carjacked in Mexico."