This week, Chesham and Amersham MP Dame Cheryl Gillan writes exclusively to Bucks Free Press readers:

As the coronavirus lockdown continues, it is really important for everyone to stay safe online as well as safeguarding themselves physically during their daily routine.

There is no situation so terrible that criminals will not seek to exploit it for their financial gain and the pandemic is no exception.

OFCOM, the information and communications regulator, has received reports of scam calls and texts about Covid-19.

These can look genuine – I have seen one which looks very like a page from the website. There are various purported senders, such as GPs’ surgeries, the NHS or the World Health Organisation, but they are all fake communications. They are designed to get people to part with bank details so that the criminals can harvest these.

In short, this is phishing and legitimate organisations would not ask for this information.

People also deserve genuine, rather than fake, news. We’re glad to have newspapers like this one, serving our communities!

But other forms of information on social media can be less reliable.

Research carried out by OFCOM in the first week of this month showed the 35 per cent of adults had seen false claims about treating coronavirus.

Most people – 55 per cent - are ignoring these false claims, but a lot of people (40 per cent) are finding it hard to know what is true or false. Younger people are following official advice less closely.

OFCOM is therefore displaying information about fact checking and a parental guide to help families, available on

There is news of a lot of genuinely good people who are doing all they can to help others in these terrible times, like the Buckinghamshire nurses who travelled to help people returning to the UK after being stranded abroad – and all these people merit our thanks and appreciation.

Take care and stay safe!