put someone off the scent
put (one) off the scent
To misdirect one away from their pursuit; to steer one's investigation or suspicions in the wrong direction. The mafia accountant managed to put the authorities off the scent of the mob's money laundering for years, but they finally caught up with him after an anonymous source tipped them off. That outlier data put me off the scent for a while, but I think my research is back on track now.