An Olympics-sized internet scam has left many people out of pocket and without legitimate entry to this year's games in Beijing.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has announced that action has been taken against internet fraudsters who sold bogus tickets for Beijing 2008, but it appears the action has come too late to stop disappointment.

"We cannot accept people paying money for tickets and not getting them," said Gerhard Heiberg, an IOC executive board member.

Legal action

Heiberg revealed that the IOC and the United States Olympic Committee have started legal action against six websites selling illegitimate or bogus tickets for the Olympic Games.

One victim told Reuters that he was left $12,000 ( £6,000) out of pocket after paying for his air fares on the understanding that he had a valid ticket.

"They have dashed the hopes and dreams of thousands of people who have been planning for years to go to the games, and have already paid thousands of dollars for airfares and what they thought were legitimate tickets," Jim Moriarty, a partner in a law firm, told Reuters.