Starfield: How To Sell And Smuggle Contraband

It might seem like selling and smuggling contraband is tricky in Starfield, but don't worry, it's not so hard once you find out how you can outsmart other factions' security. Stick around, and we'll tell you how to smuggle your contraband and sell all your stolen goods in Starfield!

Starfield Contraband Selling thumbnail
Starfield contraband explained: How to sell stolen items for a lot of money. | © Bethesda

Some players like to do some... less-than-legal thinks in games like Starfield and if you're that type of player, then you're probably pretty excited about being able to pickpocket, steal and smuggle to your heart's content in Starfield.

Obviously, every good gaming crook wants to avoid a run-in with the cops. In order to do that, you'll not only want to avoid being caught in the act but also being caught with stolen goods or contraband.

If you're looking to find out want the difference is between contraband and stolen items and where you can sell these items, then you're in the right place!

Starfield: How To Sell Contraband

While you can't sell your contraband and stolen items everywhere without getting in trouble, you'll still have the chance to sell your goods in different areas.

You can sell your contraband to the Trade Authority
. The most common way you can sell them your stolen items is at Trade Authority buildings or at Trade Authority desks. Going up to their shops will let you sell your illegal items to them, but remember that just like in any other shop, you might be offered less money from one seller than from another.

Another thing to note is that you don't need to take your contraband with you in your inventory. When you're talking to a Trade Authority vendor, you'll have the chance to sell items directly from your ship's cargo hold.

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Sometimes you may even encounter Trade Authority ships while travelling in space. If you're not in an area that prohibits contraband, you can sell the items directly by docking your ship to theirs.

Take your time exploring all the different options, and maybe you'll even find some other ways to get rid of your illegal goods!

How To Detect Contraband And Stolen Items In Starfield

Starfield Contraband Icon
The little yellow icon tells you that harvested organs are contraband... who would have thought? | © Bethesda

It's pretty easy to tell which items in your possession are either contraband or stolen. If you don't know yet, contraband items can be found in either large contraband chests or in ships.

The key to being able to tell which items are contraband, once they're in your inventory, is a small yellow icon next to the item's name.

Stolen goods on the other hand will have a small red icon next to the item's name.

The reason why you want to know which items of yours are either contraband or stolen is because of scans. You and your ship can and will be subject to contraband scans once you enter the orbit of a planet that is under the control of the United Colonies or the Freestar Collective.

These scans will only detect contraband, not stolen items. If you only have stolen items, you should be good to go, but if you have contraband in your possession as well as stolen items and the scans detect your contraband, you'll be forced to give up both item types.

Be careful about having your contraband detected, because even if those items weren't too important to you, once they're detected, a bounty can be put on you.

Additionally, you'll have to pay quite a high fine and might even be taken to a holding cell. If you're caught by Freestar Officers with a bounty on your head because of contraband, they will immediately apprehend you.

Don't worry, though, there are different ways to smuggle contraband on your ship and sell it off later.

Starfield: How To Avoid Contraband Detection On Your Ship

Starfield Security Dialogue
If you're careful enough, your encounters with officers should look like this. | © Bethesda

If you want to feel the adrenaline rush when trying to bypass laws, then you'll be happy to hear that there are multiple ways to avoid contraband scans.

One way to avoid contraband scans is with the help of the deception skill. You can unlock the deception skill in the second tier of the social skills tree. This skill helps decrease the chance of your ship's contraband being detected by up to 50% at the highest skill rank.

Or, if you don't want to use up the skill points just to avoid contraband scans, then you can also buy a scan jammer, which will help increase your chance of avoiding cargo ship scans.

You can also choose to upgrade your ship in order to avoid scans. This will only work, if you keep your contraband in your cargo hold, not your inventory.

Some ship upgrades will give you shielded cargo space, which will help to bypass detection.

One way to upgrade your ship is by joining the Crimson Fleet and buying the "Shielded Cargo Hold" from Jasmin aboard The Key (a space station in the Kryx system).

Should you not want to join the Crimson Fleet, only to be able to get a Shielded Cargo Hold, don't worry. Another option to get shielded cargo is by finding Lon Anderssen in the Red Mile on Porrima III. He's one of the few people that will either sell you a ship with a shielded cargo hold, or upgrades for your current ship.

Starfield Security Robot
You might want to avoid these guys if you were caught with contraband beforehand. | © Bethesda

Technically, you don't even have to upgrade your ship. Instead, you might come across and take over some mercenary vessels, which might already have shielded cargo holds.

Either way, a good rule of thumb is: the less contraband you have on you, the less likely your contraband will be detected, since your detection percentage increases with the amount of contraband you have. Might sound simple enough, but it's something worth keeping in mind while playing!

If you're a fan of RPGs, have you already checked out Baldur's Gate 3?

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