Any time you arrive at a planet with a major city in Starfield, you need to pass a contraband check. These contraband checks are mandatory and, if you try to grav jump or land on the planet before they finish scanning you, you’ll earn a bounty on your head. With that said, here is how to successfully smuggle and sell contraband in Starfield.
How to smuggle and sell contraband in Starfield
The only way to successfully get past scans in Starfield is to have shielded cargo or a scan jammer. There are many ways to get shielded cargo or a scan jammer, but none of them are easy. However, I’ve found that the easiest way to get shielded cargo early in Starfield is to get the free ship at the end of the Mantis side mission.
If you have contraband and don’t have a way to get past scans yet, I recommend you visit a planet you have an outpost on, drop your contraband there, and come back when you have a way to get past scans. The game remembers where you leave stuff, so you can rest easy knowing your contraband will still be there when you come back.
Where to find shielded cargo or scan jammers in Starfield?
You can buy shielded cargo and scan jammers from Lon Anderssen at Red Mile or Jasmine Durand of the Crimson Fleet. In fact, one of the easiest ways to get shielded cargo and scan jammers is by joining the Crimson Fleet.
Another way to get shielded cargo or scan jammers is to steal a Crimson Fleet ship. Stealing a ship isn’t my recommended option because you’ll anger the people you steal it from (unless they are all dead), but it’s your space adventure. Do what you want.
Where to sell contraband in Starfield
Once you have shielded cargo or scan jammers, you can usually get past contraband scans. I would quicksave every time before you try it just in case you get unlucky and they successfully scan your contraband. If they catch you, they’ll escort you to jail and remove your contraband.
After getting past a contraband scan, you can sell your contraband at the Trade Authority, which is in every major city in the Settled Systems. Either find the Trade Authority Kiosks, or the establishments themselves. You can also sell your contraband to Trade Authority ships you find in orbit. Lastly, you can sell your contraband to the Crimson Fleet and anyone at the Red Mile. Neither of them really cares about the rules, so selling contraband to them should be easy.