SheerID's verification engine

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SheerID's verification engine

Once a user has submitted their information for verification, the SheerID verification engine works to confirm their eligibility. This engine utilizes a waterfall approach to verifying a consumer's information, beginning first with authoritative data sources and working through SSO and email loop mechanisms if necessary.

If eligibility can be confirmed via one of these methods, the consumer will receive access to the gated offer for which they submitted their information. If not, they will be asked to upload additional documentation in order for SheerID's team of document review specialists to manually review their eligibility.

This article provides an overview of the various ways SheerID can provide instant verification via its verification engine, presented in the order in which they will be attempted.

Authoritative sources

For any given community segment, SheerID may utilize one or many data sources to confirm that the consumer is a member of that segment.

When a verification request is received, SheerID will first attempt to find a matching record in an authoritative data source. These are primary data sources that have direct access to the record matches being requested. These data sources are consulted instantly to determine eligibility.

Examples of authoritative data sources include universities' Office of the Registrar to verify student status or the United States Department of Defense to verify military or veteran status.


If an instant verification match isn't possible via an authoritative data source, SSO or single sign-on can be utilized.

SSO is a method by which an organization's users are authenticated and provided secure access to their networks or applications, and is commonly used in schools and businesses. SSO credentials are typically managed by the organization's internal IT group, and can be used to authoritatively verify a consumer's membership within that organization.

When using SSO for verification of a gated offer, the consumer will enter their SSO credentials directly into a secure login screen hosted by their organization. The organization's system will then send a response to SheerID confirming that the consumer has successfully signed in and is an authenticated member of their organization.

SheerID will also be provided the consumer's role within the organization. This is important, as multiple community segments may exist within a single organization. For example, a consumer signing into a university's SSO system may be considered eligible for different gated offers if they are faculty versus if they are a student.

Email loop

If a consumer is unable to be verified by an authoritative or SSO source, email loop is an effective instant verification technique that allows users to be verified without needing to submit a document.

When a consumer enters their email address into the verification form, SheerID first verifies that it contains an email domain that is associated with the institution they selected. For example, a consumer who selects the University of Oregon as their school should have an email address with "" at the end.

After submitting their verification form, the consumer will receive an email at the address they provided that contains a verification hyperlink. They can then simply click on this link to be verified as eligible.

Note that email loop is only enabled by default for certain program types where strong authoritative and SSO sources are less available, such as verification of affiliation with international secondary schools.

SMS Loop

SMS Loop adds an additional verification step to validate that the consumer is in possession of the mobile phone connected to the mobile number they are using in the verification process. When SMS Loop is added to a program, consumers must supply their mobile number in the verification from and need to enter a 6-digit code sent to them via SMS before moving forward in the verification process. The verification form has a button that allows the consumer to re-send the code.

The SMS code, delivered to the consumer within seconds, does expire and can be configured for a desired expiration time, along with the number of retries. SMS text can be customized, including the implementation of provided translations, brand reference, etc.

This feature is recommended for brands with offers that are highly susceptible to fraud and must be implemented by SheerID’s Professional Services team.