Ram Raiding is a tactic used by Criminals to get money solo, or with a partner(s). It is an alternative to doing missions or mugging pedestrians, and will usually make more money. However, due to a recent patch, Ram Raiding has become less standard due to the high risk involved.
Generally speaking ram raiding involves getting a vehicle, looking for stores or garages marked with "Drive vehicle into this target", running into the target, and loading up their vehicle. This can be done with any car at any time, except while in a mission. Different cars have different cargo capacities, with SUVs and vans usually being able to carry the most. The player can see the max carry capacity for a vehicle near their character's information in the top right of the screen while in the vehicle. There are three sizes of items that can be picked up from a raided building, and they take varying points out of the vehicle's total carrying capacity. These are:
- Small: (Cell phones, jewelry, etc.) These items are on the player themselves and do not need to be loaded into a vehicle (as notated by a box with a number next to it in the top right part of the screen. The limit on how many small items that can be carried is 50, these items get the least amount of money from contacts.
- Medium: (Cameras, suitcases, etc.) These items cause the player to walk slightly slower while walking back to their vehicle, and must be loaded into the trunk. These items take 2-4 points from the max carrying capacity of the player's vehicle. These items get a moderate amount of money from contacts.
- Large: (Safes, TVs, etc.) These items cause the player to walk significantly slower and as such makes it easier for the player to be witnessed while carrying the item to/from their vehicle. These items take 5+ points from the max carrying capacity of the player's vehicle and must be loaded into the trunk.
Once the vehicle is loaded up the player must then take the car to their nearest contact and unload it once again, this time simply walking the items to a contact. Small items on the player will automatically be deposited to the contact once they walk up to them, all subsequent items must be walked to the contact, from the vehicle, one by one; during this time the player can be witnessed again if they have a stolen item in their hands. As the player delivers the items the money from turning them in will show up in the top left of the screen, still unavailable to the player until the money is laundered. This is when the risk is the highest.
First off it is recommended that the player unlock the Packer Ceresco through the Criminal contact Terri Quan for $15,000. If a player simply steals a Packer from the streets they are at risk of losing all items gained during their ram raiding session. This is because once the player leaves the vehicle it is registered as a "free" car, i.e. it is a civilian car all over again. If another unscrupulous player sees another player unloading equipment from a vehicle and decides to steal it there is absolutely nothing stopping them from doing so. One way of avoiding this from happening is working as a pair and leaving one player in the van while the other unloads it. Regardless of who is taking the items inside, the money is split evenly once taken to the Money Laundry area (which will be marked on the player's map).
This is why it is near essential to get a legitimate player-owned Packer because it has the highest cargo carrying capacity of any early vehicle, and the player can customize it any way they choose. It also has decent durability so that a player can crash into a few storefronts without having to repair the vehicle. In addition to being able to customize a player-owned Packer, nobody can steal it while the player is unloading/loading it, allowing for solo ram raiding with very minimal risk.
After a recent patch ram raiding has become more risky for Criminals and more lucrative for Enforcers, but very slightly so. The main part of the patch that effects ram raiding is the fact that now once a Criminal has more than $1500 of un-laundered money on them, they are witness-able until they launder it. If caught off guard the player has a chance of losing all money they have received thus-far unless they win the match (explained in more detail in the witnessing section). Upon losing the match all money collected will go to the witnessing Enforcer, no questions asked. Because of this it is more common for Enforcers to patrol town looking for witness-able Criminals to pick up for easy money, sometimes camping the Money Laundering drop-off point. This has become a major point of contention amongst players and may be changed in the future.
Before the patch was added to the game Criminals could ram raid without penalty, unless they were caught unloading/loading their vehicle with stolen goods. Because of this non-existent limit Criminals could raid for hours and rack up cash in the 5-figure mark in a few hours, well above what a Enforcer could ever make doing missions in the same time frame. Due to the patch Criminals now have to watch their backs, or travel in groups, while laundering money in excess of $1500. A seemingly simple way around being witnessed is going to low population instances with very few Enforcers. The Enforcers there, however, may be there simply because there will be more ram raiding there than a high-population instance, netting more money for them than missions if they catch someone.