First, let me say that I was already following the recommendations to protect my card online. I shop at sites that are well known, I look for the HTTP(S) (Secure), and I try to find stores with encryption. I do not subscribe to sleazy high threat sites, and I have malware, spyware , and firewall protection. But the problem as I see it is that even the well known sites frequently do not really sell anything. The are a store front for smaller suppliers and vendors and they send the information to them. And, with all of the tracking by browsers and installed cookies, there are threats everywhere.
My first suggestion is that you use only one card to shop online with. It will be easier to monitor and you may be able to determine where any threat has occurred more quickly. You can pay to have your card monitored but why spend the money? It is easy to do that yourself.
My second thought is what I plan on trying to do, and that is to use a new service called a virtual credit card number. Both Citibank and Discover offer the service and there may be others as well. It works much like a proxy web address in that it is always changing. Here is how it works: When I sign on for the service (FREE), I can go to a virtual credit card number generator and generate a number that is associated with my real credit card. So, when I go to a place like Amazon or wherever, I use my virtual number, and not my real number.When Amazon verifies the number, it is accepted because it is associated with my card, but my real number is not available to anyone except the bank. It is also possible to limit the virtual number to a one time use and use another next time. Or, I can set dollar amount limits as well. Here is a link to Citi to get a brief idea of the service.
Another possibility is to use a service like PayPal, but not all stores accept these alternatives. So, for the moment, I will go virtual, and hope for the best. If this fails, then it will be either a check or money order. Will that be cash or credit?