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Two UK web sites running dodgy matrix schemes have been pulled following an investigation by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT).

The sites - Pulsematrix.com and phones4everyone (at themobilematrix.com) - promised punters the chance of getting their hands on a snazzy "free digital gift" such as a mobile phone or iPod in return for buying a low value item (say £20) such as a ringtone CD.

But the OFT ruled that the sites were illegal because they were little more than unlawful lottos that breached the Lotteries and Amusements Act.

Once punters bought the low value item, they were then put on a waiting list for the pukka gear which they would get once they reached the top of the list.

However, for each "free gift" dispatched, hundreds of new people would have to sign up to the scheme and buy a low value item.

"These schemes are ultimately unsustainable and will eventually collapse to the detriment of thousands of people," said OFT bigwig Penny Boys.

"Very few people will ever receive the 'free gift' they expect to get."

Last December the OFT warned punters about the dangers of "matrix schemes" saying that teenagers in particular were sucked in by these too-good-to-be-true scams. ®

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