Available both as a desktop software client and an application for mobile smartphone devices, Skype is a tool which permits you to call using video and/or audio to chat with others. If you're calling another Skype user -- as opposed to a phone number -- you know he's available to chat because his Skype name shows as "Online." If your username is displayed as being online when you believe you're not, several reasons could be the cause.
Means of Skype Access
Although Skype's download desktop software version is perhaps the most common means via which users access the service, it isn't the only possible one. Mobile smartphones such as the BlackBerry, Apple's iPhone and Android-powered devices, for example, support mobile versions of Skype that are capable of nearly all the functions of the desktop software program. Alternatively, it's possible to access Skype's "Chat" feature using Web-based messenger services like plus.im or imo.im. If Skype shows you as online but you don't have the program open, it's possible you're signed in from your mobile device or from elsewhere on the Web.
Public Computer Access
These days, several Internet cafes and other public computers are equipped with Skype, allowing you to access your account simply by providing your Skype name and password. When you log into Skype from a public location, it's important to make sure the "Remember Me" button isn't ticked when you sign in -- and regardless of whether or not it is, to sign yourself out. If you can't find yourself signed into Skype on your computer, mobile device or via the Web, it's possible you left yourself signed in on another computer.
Just because you don't see Skype open on your computer doesn't mean it isn't running. As is the case with other messenger clients such as AOL Instant Messenger or Windows Live Messenger, closing out of Skype only hides the program from your view unless you explicitly sign out of your account or "Quit" the program. If Skype shows you as being online, open the program as you normally would. If you aren't prompted to sign in again -- in other words, it takes you directly to your contact list -- it means you've been signed in all the while.
If you aren't signed in on a public computer, mobile device or via the web but still show as being online, it's possible your Skype account has been compromised. One way to tell if this has happened is to attempt logging into your account from your computer. If you can't -- for instance, if the program tells you your password is wrong and you're sure you have entered it correctly -- you can safely assume an unauthorized user has gained access to your account. Contact Skype Customer Service to begin resolving this problem.
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