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Starfield: How to Sell Contraband

Selling contraband in Starfield is a great way to make money and get a rush every time you head into port. Here's how.

Starfield lets you be almost anyone you want to be in the Settled Systems, and pirate selling contraband is probably one of the most enjoyable occupations you can take on. It’s dangerous, lucrative, and entirely optional. You can be a full-time pirate and still decide you want to play by the rules from time to time. We’ll cover how to sell contraband and get the gear you need to do it in this guide.

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How to Sell Contraband in Starfield

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The process of selling contraband in Starfield is simple in principle. You need a shielded cargo hold to contain your illicit goods, then you need to pass a cargo scan at any settled port with a vendor that accepts illegal product. Once you pass the scan, you can sell to the unscrupulous vendor unhindered.

The problem is finding the right vendor, and having shielded cargo holds along with Scan Jammers. There is no above-board spaceport in all of Starfield that sells those two very illegal ship parts. There are also only two places in the galaxy that purchase the hottest merchandise.

Where to Sell Contraband in Starfield

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The only two vendors I’ve found so far that accept contraband are the Trade Authority merchant on Neon in the Volii system and any Crimson Fleet vendor on The Key Starstation in the Kryx system. While the Neon merchant is easy enough to get to, joining the Crimson Fleet is another matter entirely.

So long as you get in good with the Settled Systems’ largest pirate outfit, you can travel to The Key whenever you like to sell to the multiple vendors there. You can also take pirate bounties from The Key-specific Mission Board to do some pirating of your own and haul quest contraband into the more upstanding ports of call.

How to Get Shielded Cargo Bays and Scan Jammers in Starfield

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I’ve also found two ways to get the shielded cargo and Scan Jammers you need to sell contraband in Starfield. The first way I got my hands on them was by taking over a hostile Crimson Fleet ship that randomly attacked me as I explored.

The second and more consistent way to get the gear you need to haul contraband is to — you guessed it — join the Crimson Fleet. The ship services dealer there, a young woman named Jazz, will sell you as many shielded cargo holds and Scan Jammers as your ship can equip.

A couple of notes about selling contraband, regardless of how you get the equipment to do so:

  • Your shielded cargo is separate from your main cargo hold, and the more full it is, the easier it will be for the authorities to successfully scan for it. If you always have too many crafting materials in your hold, even having almost total shield cargo and four Scan Jammers won’t guarantee a 100% scan evasion rate.
  • If you board a hostile ship and find contraband aboard, be careful about taking it as your own. When you make a ship your home ship, your entire cargo hold transfers to the new vessel, whether it has the proper shielding or not. If you take a ship that can’t carry it, you’re in for a fine and a trip to the security office.
  • If you keep contraband in your personal inventory, it will always be found by the authorities. Be sure to do a full check of what your character is carrying

As for actually finding contraband, I’ve found most of mine on pirate and enemy faction ships, either lying loose inside or in a Contraband Case. I don’t recommend taking ships that have contraband already in them for the reasons outlined above. Just load what you want to keep into your ship’s cargo hold, and then blow up the ship you boarded.

That’s all you need to know about how to sell contraband in Starfield. It’s one of the more lucrative activities you can do, and is a fantastic supplement to selling ships, looting pirates, crafting, and mission running. Starfield is a huge game, and there’s a ton to cover. Check out our ever-growing guides hub.

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John Schutt
John Schutt has been playing games for almost 25 years, starting with Super Mario 64 and progressing to every genre under the sun. He spent almost 4 years writing for strategy and satire site TopTierTactics under the moniker Xiant, and somehow managed to find time to get an MFA in Creative Writing in between all the gaming. His specialty is action games, but his first love will always be the RPG. Oh, and his avatar is, was, and will always be a squirrel, a trend he's carried as long as he's had a Steam account, and for some time before that.