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Starfield – How To Sell Contraband And Stolen Items

In Starfield, contraband items are highly illegal in the Settled Systems. Attempting to land on a planet will subject your ship to a scan and, if detected, you’ll earn a bounty on your head, which is too bad since these items can fetch you a ton of money. Our guide discusses how you can sell stolen items and contraband in Starfield so you can amass more money. We also talk about Shielded Cargo modules, which are necessary if you want to avoid scan detection.

Table of Contents [hide]

  • How to sell stolen items and contraband in Starfield
    • Differences between stolen items and contraband items
    • How to sell contraband to the Trade Authority
    • How to avoid scan detection: Deception skill and Shielded Cargo modules

How to sell stolen items and contraband in Starfield

To sell stolen items and contraband in Starfield, you need to visit the Trade Authority building on a planet or ship. However, this is easier said than done, as we’ll outline in our guide.

Watch out for scans when you travel to a planet that's controlled by a faction.
Watch out for scans when you travel to a planet that’s controlled by a faction.

Differences between stolen items and contraband items

Here’s a quick summary when it comes to these types of items:

  • Stolen items have a red icon, and are usually found when you pick up items in restricted areas or NPC-owned establishments.
  • Contraband items, meanwhile, have a yellow icon. You’ll find these inside large contraband chests, or in ships. For the latter, they’re usually in the cockpit or cargo hold terminal of pirate/mercenary ships.
  • Scans occur when you enter the orbit of a planet that’s controlled by the United Colonies or Freestar Collective.
  • They will only scan your ship for contraband, not for stolen items. However, if discovered, you’ll earn a bounty and have to surrender both item types.
  • You should have a Shielded Cargo module added to your ship (more on this later), and you should place the contraband inside to have a chance at avoiding detection. Contraband that’s in the inventory of your character, the inventory of your companion, or just dropped anywhere in the ship, will get automatically detected.
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Contraband items can be found in or near the cockpit of mercenary vessels.
Contraband items can be found in or near the cockpit of mercenary vessels.

How to sell contraband to the Trade Authority

Trade Authority buildings can be found on various planets. These structures have a bright yellow signboard, which makes them hard to miss. Given that contraband is inside the ship’s hold, you can press the corresponding button when talking to a Trade Authority vendor to switch to the ship’s inventory. This lets you sell the contraband, as well as stolen items, directly from your ship, as opposed to carrying the loot around.

Likewise, it’s possible to encounter a Trade Authority Ship while exploring. You can dock when you find one and, assuming it’s in a system that’s not controlled by a faction, you won’t need to go through scans anymore. The Crimson Fleet also has its own space station with a Trade Authority vendor, and they don’t do scans either.

Left: The Trade Authority building has a bright neon sign; Right: You can sell contraband and stolen items directly from your ship’s inventory.

How to avoid scan detection: Deception skill and Shielded Cargo modules

There are two ways to avoid scan detection for Starfield contraband:

  • Deception skill – This makes contraband scans less effective, though we don’t recommend unlocking this skill at all. You’re better off allocating points to the best skills in the game instead of this option.
  • Shielded Cargo modules – This is the ideal method since these parts can be purchased. However, you need to join the Crimson Fleet first.

Once you’re a member of the Crimson Fleet, you’ll have to visit The Key, a space station in the Kryx system. Shortly thereafter, you’ll be introduced to Jasmine, the ship vendor. Check her wares and look for modules that have “Shielded Cargo Hold” in their name. Make sure you attach these to your ship to gain the effect.

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Take note of the Shielded Cargo term when purchasing from the Crimson Fleet.
Take note of the Shielded Cargo term when purchasing from the Crimson Fleet.

Similarly, it’s possible to come across ships that already have Shielded Cargo modules installed. If you’re boarding and taking over mercenary vessels, there’s a chance that the spacecraft itself already has this module. Alternatively, you can acquire the Mantis legendary ship, which also has Shielded Cargo.

Do note that the detection percentage is roughly based on the weight of all contraband items that you’re carrying aboard your ship. For the most part, we’ve had this at around 59%, so we did have to reload our saves a few times whenever we’re unlucky with the scans.

In any case, that’s all you need to know about Starfield contraband and stolen items. You can learn more in our ship upgrades and modifications guide, as well as our ship cargo guide.

Starfield is a massive game with numerous planets to explore. For other tips and tactics, you can visit our guides hub.

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