put (one) off the scent(redirected from put them 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.
put someone off the scent
Fig. to distract someone or a group from following a scent or trail. (From put a dog off the scent; the scent or trail can be purely figurative. (See also put someone off the track.) The clever maneuvers of the bandits put the sheriffs posse off the scent. The mob laundered the drug money to try to put investigators off the trail.