Hyderabad: Chinese fraudsters, infamous for their loan apps, are back in business. In their latest avatar they have floated investment apps through their former employees and duped people. Over 80 investment fraud cases have been registered in the past few months in Hyderabad alone.

So far police have arrested two Indians last week who were working for Chinese racketeers based abroad.

The latest modus operandi is to send bulk SMSes to people offering part-time work-from-home opportunities with an MNC with an assured daily earning of between Rs 1,000 and Rs 3,000, Cyberabad ACP K Balakrishna Reddy said.

“A click on the link in the SMS leads the victim to get in touch with the fraudsters, who instead of offering a job directly, will lure them to register on a website or an app through the Telegram app. Once registered on the app, the victim is initially asked to pay a small amount, which will double in a span of one or two days. Once the victim invests a bigger amount, the fraudsters stop payment,” Hyderabad ACP (Cyber Crime) KVM Prasad said.

Of 50 complaints received about the investment fraud, police had managed to track down two bank account holders — A Srinivasa Rao (45), an accountant from Srinagar Colony, and his friend N Vijaya Krishna (37) from Nallakunta.The police said Srinivasa Rao told them that he had worked for two Chinese nationals whom he knew as Michel and Jollie. “Srinivasa Rao was an accountant at a Madhapur-based private company operated by two Chinese nationals. Rao claims that he was unaware of what his employers did. They shut the business in January 2021 and left,” police said.

Rao claimed that a few months ago his former employers got in touch with him and made him register private companies along with the co-accused and open bank accounts in the names of the companies. “Rao and Vijaya Krishna provided internet banking details of their newly-opened accounts to the Chinese. Rao claimed that he was offered a Rs 15,000 monthly salary plus commission,” an investigator said.

With regard to the only case solved in the city, the police had identified 10 bank accounts, of which two were operated by the two arrested Indians and the remaining accounts were in other states. The police wrote to the banks seeking details of the accounts and asking them to freeze the accounts.

“We have observed that from an account Rs 36 lakh was transferred to other accounts in a single day. There is Rs 19 lakh in the two accounts frozen so far,” the police said.

With the arrested accused confessing that the Chinese were behind the investment fraud, police now believe that the fraudsters, who were involved in the loan app cases, were also behind the app-based investment schemes.

“Like in loan app cases or colour code fraud, all the investment websites and apps have similar interfaces. So the Chinese fraudsters, whose original names we are yet to identify, are behind the fraud,” a CCS official said. Police were trying to gather more information from the banks to follow the money trail.