Can I just buy a stock one day before the dividends are distributed and receive them?
Yes, you can but it’s an amateur strategy that doesn’t work like you think.
You have an ex-dividend date to be aware of and typically 3 days to “settle” before that date. After a dividend is paid, typically the stock will drop in price by the amount of the dividend. So you own a stock that pays $1.50 dividend and after it’s paid out, it drops by $1.50.
+$1.50 - $1.50 = $0 GAIN. See the issue?
Ideally, you would hold dividend stocks much longer and review the annual EPS of the company you are interested in versus the dividend payout. As an example, let’s say 2 companies both have the same stock price and both pay $1.50 dividend annually. A company that earns $4.00 EPS annually but pays out $1.50 dividend (keeping 2.50 EPS to continue to grow) is better than a company that earns $1.75 and pays out $1.50. (keeping only 0.25 EPS to grow).