State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli's office is auditing New York's unemployment system amid concerns over fraudulent claims made during the COVID-19 pandemic.

DiNapoli's office this week confirmed the audit, which began in mid-February this year, is underway.

The review comes as New Yorkers have seen fraudulent claims for benefits made in their name as unemployment spiked during last year's shutdown to halt the spread of COVID-19 in New York. The economy in New York alone shed more than 2 million jobs.

The sharp rise in unemployment led to a strain on the Department of Labor, which added bandwidth for its website and additional operators to handle questions and complaints over benefits.

A Department of Labor spokeswoman said the agency does not comment on pending audits.

"However, it is important to note that The Comptroller's State Audit team performs financial and performance audits of New York State agencies on a routine basis –  so in light of the fact that the New York State Department of Labor has paid out over $81 billion in benefits to more than 4.6 million New Yorkers, an audit is not an unusual practice, and in fact, expected," the department said in a statement.

Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon, in an interview with Spectrum News last week, said the department is working with a new vendor to help crack down on fraudulent claims. The company,, requires multiple proofs of identification to verify unemployment claims.

Reardon said the level of fraud in the system is likely due to international cyber criminals.