The UK government has issued a warning regarding Internet 'pyramid' selling schemes as popular auction sites such as eBay are being exploited by con men.

Bargain-hunters are bidding for products such as iPods on these auctions, only to find out that all they have acquired is a link to a site where they have to pay money to join a waiting list. And they only get their hands on the promised product when they make it to the top of the list, which requires them to get others to join that list.

This is London says: "Trading Standards officers and government officials today claimed thousands of Internet users expecting a cheap iPod were at risk."

A spokesman said: "These things are a con". Laws pegged to be passed in autumn will make them illegal, but lawmakers currently advise shoppers not to sign up to the scams.