throw someone off the scent
throw (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 throw 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 threw me off the scent for a while, but I think my research is back on track now.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
throw someone off the scentor
put someone off the scent
If something or someone throws you off the scent or puts you off the scent when you are looking for someone or something, they confuse or deceive you by making you believe something that is not true. We decided that if anyone was following us, it would be wiser if we split up to throw them off the scent. The team was also put off the scent by the alibi Maxine Jones gave Morgan. Officers now accept they should have checked her story more thoroughly. Note: This is a reference to hounds that get distracted from the trail of an animal they are hunting, for example because of another smell.
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012