There are some structural changes you can make to thwart repeated attempts to raid your credit card account, as well.
"The best way to avoid unwanted credit card charges, especially online, is to create a one-use credit card number that is used only for that transaction," explains Steven J. Hausman, Ph.D., and president of Hausman Technology Presentations in Gaithersburg, Md.
Bank of America, for example, has a service called ShopSafe, which is available for online banking customers that creates a card number for a specific dollar amount you specify and for a specific expiration date, Hausman notes. "Any attempt to use the card more than once will be rejected by the bank, and your original credit card number will never be revealed."
"It's also possible to use this card for recurring payments with a dollar cap," he adds. "If a website asks for a credit card number before letting you make a 'free' purchase. you can also create one for a dollar limit of $0.01 - it's not free, but it's certainly a card that would limit your liability."
Other card providers are pitching in to help consumers thwart unwanted charges, too. Eligible Capital One cardholders are automatically enrolled to receive Second Look notifications which alert them of any unusual, duplicate charges, and any increases in recurring monthly charges, like your cable bill. "While its always important to keep track of your credit card charges, sometimes you need a second set of eyes," says Lapin. "Gone unchecked these unusual transactions could end up costing customers hundreds of dollars."