Starfield: How to Smuggle Contraband Items

You can roam the galaxy in Starfield, and this guide shows you to hide your contraband items from scans and local officials.

Screenshot by Gamepur

Amid Starfield’s seemingly endless pool of collectible items, there are a few seedier articles known as contraband. Some planets deem the possession of such items to be illegal, and you might have some contraband items on board that a planet’s authorities don’t want you taking to the surface. Although they might scan your ship, you have a good chance to prevent them from picking up on your haul.

Smuggling certain items can be dangerous, but if you can get them onto the surface of a highly populated planet, you’ll have a chance to make a huge profit on them. Hopefully, the rewards outweigh the risks. Here’s what you need to know about smuggling contraband items in Starfield.

Related: Starfield: How to Build Ships

Where to Find Contraband Items in Starfield

Screenshot by Gamepur

Contraband items are pretty easy to find in Starfield. You can normally pick them up after looting Pirates of Spacers that you’ve defeated. You might find them on their bodies, or if you’re on their ship, they might be hiding these items in their cargo hold. I’ve explored abandoned bases several times, and accidentally looted contraband items without realizing it.

You’ll know you have a contraband item based on the unique symbol it has next to its name. It will have a downward arrow icon pointing to the bottom right corner of a yellow box. This icon should make it stand out compared to the other items in your inventory. If you see any items with this symbol, be careful when making your way to any civilized city in the UC or Free Star Collective part of space. Their security ships will scan your cargo and immediately pick it up. They will always know you have contraband if it’s in your character’s inventory, but not always if it’s in the cargo hold, especially if you have Shielded Cargo.

How to Hide Contraband Items From Scanners in Starfield

Screenshot by Gamepur

Shielded Cargo Holds are one of the few ways you can hide any contraband from security officers in Starfield. There are two ways to find a ship with Shielded Cargo Holds: Steal them or purchase them.

Stealing a ship with a Shielded Cargo Hold might be easier at the start of the game, and you typically want to target Crimson Fleet ships. However, if you join the Crimson Fleet, you can speak with Jasmine, the engineer on the Crimson Fleet station, The Key, to add these upgrades to your ship or purchase a new ship with those cargo holds already installed.

In order for Shielded Cargo to work, players need to be carrying a smaller amount of contraband compared to the total amount of shielded cargo. Carrying fewer pieces of contraband also helps their chances of staying undetected.

I’ve also found that leveling up and purchasing the Deception perk is a good idea when attempting to hide cargo from enemy scanners in Starfield. There are four ranks to the Deception skill, and when you reach Rank 4, enemy scanners are 50% less effective against you, on top of the Shielded Cargo Hold you’re using. Stacking these bonuses together should make Smuggling missions much easier, and you can take Contraband nearly anywhere in the galaxy.

Screenshot by Gamepur

Lastly, Starfield’s help menu claims players can install Scan Jammers on their ships to stop law enforcement from scanning their cargo hold at all. At the time of writing, we aren’t sure where you can purchase a Scan Jammer, but you can find them already installed on some ships.