Why did the consular officer refuse me without even looking at all my documents?
The consular officer examines your application そして passport when you are called to the window for an interview. That information, along with the information obtained during the interview, is usually sufficient for a decision to be made. [...]
If the person is not legitimate, obviously the goal is to get the money out of you. They will either vanish, or will hit you up with another problem that can only be cured with more money, and another problem, and another problem, preying on your belief in the "sunk costs" fallacy and your refusal to accept that you've actually been sexting with a guy this whole time.
US citizens applying for an expedited passport do need proof of travel. This appears to mostly require an itinerary or proof of booking, but can be done by a business letter (case-by-case for the letter.) No proof is needed that the person applying purchased the ticketinstructions from site selling passport-related services
Non-US citizens applying for visa with the DS-160 are required to include a "Travel itinerary, if you have already made travel arrangements." (emphasis added) official us state FAQ The entire DS-160 form is quite explicit that it does not require exact, set information about arrival flights and departure flights.yet another information site on the DS-160 (not official) Now, it's possible that having set travel arrangements would increase the likelihood of the visa being granted, but I doubt it will be a deciding factor.
DS-160 does require information on who is paying for the trip, but it does not have to be the person applying for the visa. There is even an explicit option for 'other person'... it's fine to buy the trip for somebody elsesame site as above
Schengen visa applications do require official itineraries, and they do cost money (don't have to buy tickets, but have to make official reservation) yet another travel site, but I'm pretty sure that the US isn't Schengen. Also, the cost would be less than $50, not $500.