Bill , there are some things you can do .
I moderate (but do not own) a very active hobby forum and I feel your pain .
There are 2 websites I find very helpfull in checking new registrations .
First and foremost is..... http://www.stopforumspam.com/
Click on "search" and enter an IP address , it will show you if that address has been reported as a spam IP .
Then you can ban or delete the profile .
Most spammers are "bots" and usually wait a few days after registering before coming back and doing their thing .
Some , maybe 10% , spam immediately .
I prefer to ban rather than delete , in VBulletin forum software when you ban a profile the email address used cannot be used again , if you delete the profile they may just use it over and over .
I'm not up on the inner workings of phpBB forums , but if you look through that site you may be able to add script that will automatically check new registrations for you and block any IP address in the database .
If you check new members manually , check IP , email , and username .
If I don't get any "hits" on that website and I'm still suspicious , I check the IP address here.... http://whatismyipaddress.com/ip-lookup
Anything out of China , The Russian Federation , India , Pakistan , and most Eastern European countries are spammers sad to say , even if they are not listed (yet )in the database at Stopforumspam .
On even the most well protected forum spam is gonna happen every so often , it's a given fact .
It may be irritating to the members , but the best thing is to just ignore it and hit the "report post" button when it slips in .
Hard as you try , some is gonna make it through .
Hey thanks for that response.. Basically if they aren't from the US .. And or they have some BS web address in their profile they get deleted.. Now that you mention it the forum is being converted to Vbulletin tonight because everyone is finding this software to be a pain in the ass.. Thanks again for that tip and I will be using those sites