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Police in Canada yesterday arrested the developer of two Web sites allegedly created solely to rip off potential PlayStation 2 owners.

Canadian Scott Byers, 20, launched the sites, PS2storeusa.com and PS2storecanada.com, to offer the next-generation Sony console for up to $599, well above the machine's retail price.

After it received numerous complaints about unfulfilled orders, North American consumer watchdog the Better Business Bureau warned buyers not to trust Byers' sites.

That prompted a police investigation cumlinating in Byers arrest on two counts of fraud. Byers will appear before Canadian magistrates on Monday.

PlayStation 2 scams are becoming increasingly common as buyers desperately try to find consoles before Christmas. And it's not just punters who are being ripped off. US ISP Families On Line yesterday admitted it will refund customers to whom it sold PlayStation 2s after being conned by a supplier.

"It is absolutely 100 per cent evident that we were scammed," Mark Thurman, Families On Line's CEO, claimed in a CNet report.

Families On Line was promised sufficient consoles to convince it to take 9000 orders from its subscribers. The company has reported the incident to local police who are investigating the matter.

With Sony shipping fewer than 100,000 consoles per month into the whole of North America, you'd have thought buyers - both trade and end users - would be a little more cautious. Evidently not. Let the buyer beware... ®

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