The New Nigerian Letter: Digital Fraud on The Cannabis Industry’s Horizon


As I was checking my email one Saturday morning, I discovered a message I received from an entrepreneur named James. Always eager to connect with new colleagues in the cannabis industry, I opened the email and began reading through its contents. The opening line referred to a conversation on LinkedIn, making things seem legitimate enough; but as I proceeded through the body of the email, I realized what I was reading would likely become known as the 420 letter scam.

For those of you out of the loop on email fraud, the email was quite similar- albeit more progressed- to the so-called Nigerian letter scam, also known as the 419 letter for violating Nigeria’s 419 policy on fraudulent activities. Given the similarities and catchiness, it feels only fair that we call this new form of fraud the 420 letter.

What is The 420 Letter Scam

Much like the Nigerian letter, the 420 letter email scam involves a wealthy foreign investor that desires to invest in the American cannabis industry. The culprit ensnares businesses under the pretenses of promising large sums of money to kick start their company. Once documentation is given to the scammer, they move in to wreak havoc on the victim, often by depriving them of funds and legal documents.

The FBI already has consistent data on the dangers of the Nigerian letter scam. However, it still remains up in the air whether attention will be given towards the possible proliferation of 420 emails geared towards attacking the cannabis industry. Because cannabis legislation is still developing, the resources to educate and empower fledgling businesses remains scattered far and few between.

Keep A Sharp Eye: Good Practices For Any Cannabis Business in 2020

As fraudulent activity in the cannabis industry sublimates into the digital realm, it is very important to stay up to date on how to safeguard your business. For fraudulent emails like the 420 scam, if the offer is too good to be true, it probably isn’t even real. It is also imperative to always conduct research on any investor or business that approaches you. Credibility can’t be verified just because a stranger plugs a LinkedIn conversation into their pitch.

Like any business, cannabis companies must be built up through commitment, intuition, and unique direction. If you’re in search of a cannabis consulting company, our team at Outcrowd knows best. As longtime veterans in the cannabis industry, we offer relevant experience informed by over a decade of time spent across the cannabis retailer, distribution, and business-to-business fields. We’re ready to elevate your business beyond industry standard.

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